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Who’s Liable for Toxic Chemicals on a Job Site?

a toxic chemical leak

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guarantees every American worker a safe and hazard-free work environment. “Safe and hazard-free” means a work environment free of life-threatening dangers, including unsafe machinery, toxic chemicals, and more.

Sadly, however, employers do not always uphold this responsibility. Get informed on the dangers of toxic chemicals in the workplace and who may be held liable for this violation of OSHA standards.

Workers’ Rights and Protections Under OSHA

Federal law, particularly through guidelines set forth under OSHA, entitles workers to a safe workplace. Specifically, workers have the following rights:

  • Receive safety and health training in a language you understand.
  • Work on machines that are safe.
  • Be protected from toxic chemicals.
  • Request an OSHA inspection and speak to the inspector.
  • Report an injury or illness and receive a copy of medical records.

Common Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace

Workplace dangers are not limited to those involving heavy machinery. Many industrial workplaces, in particular, contain toxic chemicals that can pose significant risks to workers’ short- and long-term health. Some of the most common toxic chemicals in an industrial workplace include:

  • Asbestos
  • Heavy metals
  • Acids

Exposure to these toxins can cause serious health conditions, such as cancer. Due to the potentially devastating consequences, employers must do everything they can to identify and remove toxic chemicals from the workplace.

In order to uphold this responsibility, employers should perform regular inspections of the workplace and identify any potentially dangerous areas. Additionally, employers should establish an easy, anonymous reporting system for workers to list potential dangers. If a toxic chemical or another danger is identified but cannot be removed immediately, employers should demarcate the dangerous area and prevent workers from entering it.

Employers’ failure to protect workers from toxic chemicals in the workplace can have devastating consequences for workers. Unfortunately, workers cannot sue their employers for a work injury under workers’ compensation laws. These laws exist to both protect employers from lawsuits as well as guarantee compensation to workers after a work injury, regardless of fault.

There are exceptions to these laws, however, so it’s important to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney who can work out the details of your case.

Additionally, there may be third-parties who were present on the job site who may be held liable for the presence of toxic chemicals. Your attorney will be able to answer this question, too.

Harmed in the Workplace? Contact Us Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in the workplace, our Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys are here to help. We have helped countless clients recover the compensation they deserve after a work injury, and we may be able to help you, too.

Call Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. at (844) 383-0565 to schedule a free consultation.

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