What You Need to Know About Toxic Exposures in Texas Workplaces
While many Texas workplaces strive to maintain safe and healthy environments, there are instances where employees may be exposed to toxic substances. Toxic exposure in the workplace can have severe health implications and may give rise to legal claims.
What is Toxic Exposure?
Toxic exposure occurs when an employee comes into contact with a harmful substance that can enter their body through inhalation, skin contact, ingestion, or even accidental injuries. It can happen in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, healthcare, agriculture, and many others. While some workplaces are more prone to toxic exposure due to the nature of their operations, it is essential to remain vigilant regardless of your occupation.
Common Types of Toxic Exposure
- Chemical Substances: Many workplaces rely on chemicals for production processes or cleaning purposes. Exposure to solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritations, organ damage, and long-term health complications.
- Airborne Particles: Dust, fumes, and fibers present in certain work environments can pose significant health risks. For example, industries such as mining, construction, and woodworking often involve the release of airborne particles, which, when inhaled, can cause respiratory ailments, lung damage, or even cancer.
- Biological Hazards: Employees working in healthcare settings, laboratories, or animal-related occupations face the risk of exposure to infectious agents, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This exposure can result in infections, allergies, and other related health issues.
- Radiation: Workplaces dealing with nuclear materials, X-ray machines, or certain industrial processes may expose employees to ionizing radiation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radiation can lead to severe health conditions, including radiation sickness, DNA damage, and an increased risk of cancer.
Options for Compensation for Workers Exposed to Toxic Substances
Workers who have been exposed to toxic substances in the workplace and suffer adverse health effects have several options for seeking compensation. Those include:
- Workers’ Compensation: Employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses can file a workers’ compensation claim if an employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation typically covers medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and other related costs.
- Toxic Tort Claims: In cases where workers’ compensation is not available or insufficient, employees may pursue a toxic tort claim. These claims are typically based on allegations of negligence, strict liability, or intentional misconduct on the part of a third party, such as the employer, product manufacturer, or property owner. Toxic tort claims can seek damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic losses. When an employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, the harmed employee can still file a toxic tort claim in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim if a third party other than their employer is liable.
- Government Compensation Programs: Government compensation programs may be available for specific types of toxic exposures in certain cases. For instance, individuals who were exposed to toxic substances at nuclear facilities may be covered by government programs specific to nuclear workers. The appropriate course of action will depend on the case’s specific circumstances, including the nature of the exposure and the responsible parties involved.
What to do When Affected by Toxic Exposure
Have you been affected by toxic exposure in the workplace recently? A Waco workplace injury lawyer can help you file a claim and determine your legal options to ensure you recover fair compensation.