Maryland Workplace Chemical Exposure Attorneys
What is Chemical Exposure?
Chemical exposure causes hundreds of on the job injuries and occupational diseases each year, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), leaving workers with mounting medical bills and, in most cases, an inability to work. As with other work-related injuries, workers who suffer from illness or injury caused by chemical exposure have the right to file for workers’ compensation.
Skin Exposure vs. Respiratory Exposure
Chemical exposure can occur when chemicals are inhaled or exposed to the skin. Skin exposure to chemicals causes more workplace injuries and illnesses each year than respiratory exposure, according to OSHA. The agency estimates that 3.4 employees per 10,000 suffer skin injuries or occupational diseases related to chemical exposure each year, versus 1.9 per 10,000 employees who suffer respiratory injuries or diseases from chemical exposure each year. Some workers may suffer both types of injuries in the same accident or while working on the same job, especially if chemical use is common.
Chemical Exposure Statistics
OSHA estimates that 60,000 workers die each year and an additional 860,000 are injured by exposure to various chemicals. Chemicals that can cause serious injury to humans are commonly used in manufacturing, construction, research, and other industries. Even workers in relatively “low-risk” work-like office jobs may be harmed if they are exposed to dangerous chemicals in cleaning products or office supplies.
Direct vs. Indirect Chemical Exposure
Both “direct” and “indirect” chemical exposure can cause harm. OSHA defines “direct” exposure as harm that occurs when a person’s skin, mucous membranes, or other body parts suffer direct harm from contact with a chemical. The chemical may be on the skin, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or introduced to the body in other ways. “Indirect” exposure covers harm caused not by the chemical itself, but by toxic compounds created as the body breaks down the chemical in order to expel it from the body’s systems or store it in fat or other tissue. Many occupational diseases can develop from long-term indirect exposure to a chemical, especially heavy metals and other chemicals that build up in the body over time.
How Is Chemical Exposure Regulated and Who Is Liable?
Recognizing the widespread use of various dangerous chemicals in workplaces and the harm these chemicals can cause, OSHA provides stringent guidelines for creating, using, destroying, handling, and storing various chemical agents. Employers who do not follow these guidelines may face fines and other penalties in addition to being required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to workers injured by chemical exposure.
When this exposure arises “out of and in the course of” employment in Maryland, the injured worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and other expenses. Benefits may be available even if an occupational disease caused by long-term exposure to a workplace chemical is not discovered for many years.
Helping Workers Get the Compensation They Deserve
Chemical exposure can cause serious injuries, illnesses, birth defects, and even death. In some cases, tracing the source of an occupational injury or disease back to a certain chemical exposure can be complicated. An injured worker may also be entitled to compensation for certain types of scarring due to exposure to chemicals. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our experienced Prince George’s County chemical exposure workers’ compensation attorneys have the legal resources and the practical experience to thoroughly investigate each chemical exposure case we handle and to help injured persons and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. For a free and confidential consultation, call our office today at (844) 632-7274, or fill out our free online contact form.