Maintaining a safe work environment does not stop with keeping an organized workplace or having a safety plan in place that controls potentially dangerous scenarios. Even the air can be toxic under certain circumstances. Harmful chemicals are often odorless as well, which makes problems even more uncontrollable. A prime example of this hazard is radon gas that is odorless and very toxic over a long period of time. And for years, California companies rarely tested their facilities for this or any other invisible airborne contaminants. Today these potential dangers are recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and medical issues created by toxic airborne agents are covered by workers’ compensation insurance when the claim can be proven.
OSHA currently maintains a registry of certain toxic chemicals that are commonly found in manufacturing facilities and other workplaces. Employees are constantly around anything that may be in the air, and companies understand they must monitor the environment regularly in designated areas. However, these are merely the known carcinogens that have been identified in prior workers compensation claims. Other contaminants can apply as well when their toxic properties are proven in a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim.
Controlling the contaminants
OSHA has set standards for controlling contaminants in the workplace that include certain actions such as vaulted roofs for better ventilation and internal measures that can mitigate spreading of any unwanted chemical. Standards also include mandatory face masks in certain occupations, and evidence that companies are supplying substandard equipment can be material evidence in any workers’ compensation claims for exposure to toxicity.
Potential for personal injury lawsuit
California workers’ compensation attorneys understand that negligence can easily become a material fact in cases involving toxic chemicals. The benefit to the injured worker is that this changes the case often by allowing standing for a personal injury negligence lawsuit in addition to any workers’ compensation claim.