Toxic chemicals and hazardous substances are common on construction sites. Lead, mercury, silica and toxic chemicals can be inhaled by workers or absorbed through the skin, creating unseen hazards and the risk of serious health problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 13 million American workers are potentially exposed to hazardous substances that can be absorbed through the skin, causing a variety of diseases and disorders. Construction is one of the occupations in which workers face the highest risk of this type of injury, according to the CDC.
OSHA has issued safety standards and regulations concerning toxic exposure of workers which have been adopted by the State of New York. Among other things, OSHA regulations require that:
- Manufacturers and importers of chemicals evaluate their hazards and convey that information to customers.
- Employers provide labels and safety data sheets for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals and train them on safe handling.
- Employers identify and evaluate workplace respiratory hazards.
- Exposure limits protect workers from health effects of hazardous substances.
- Employers provide respirators when necessary at no cost to workers and train employees on their use.
If you have been injured by toxic exposure on a construction site and a party other than your employer was at fault for the injury, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation, in addition to the workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive.
The experienced Long Island workplace accident attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, help injured workers pursue the compensation and benefits they need to get their lives back on track. Our firm has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your workplace toxic exposure claim.
Common Types of Toxic Exposure on Construction Sites
OSHA provides detailed information about 25 different chemicals and hazardous substances and the effects they can have on workers. In the construction industry, injury is commonly caused by exposure to a number of substances, such as the following:
- Asphalt fumes – More than half a million workers are exposed to fumes from asphalt, which is used in roofing, siding, road paving and concrete work, according to OSHA. Exposure can cause fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, eye and throat irritation, sensitization, coughs, reduced appetite and skin cancer.
- Solvents – OSHA reports that every day, millions of workers are exposed to solvents. Exposure can cause reproductive damage, nervous system toxicity, damage to the liver and kidneys, respiratory impairment, dermatitis and cancer.
- Asbestos – Heavy exposure to asbestos occurs in the construction industry, according to OSHA. It has been used in floor tiles, building materials and insulation for pipes, among many other applications. Asbestos exposure can cause damage to the lungs, lung cancer, mesothelioma and cancer of the stomach lining.
- Lead – One of the first metals to be used by humans, lead was also the cause of the first occupational illness, as reported by OSHA. Fourth century B.C. metalworkers suffered a disease known as “lead colic.” OSHA estimates that 838,000 construction workers are exposed to lead, which can have harmful neurological and gastrointestinal effects and can cause kidney disease and anemia.
- Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer in humans. Its resins are used to produce particle board and plywood, as adhesives and in foam insulation, according to OSHA.
- Silica – Exposure to crystalline silica occurs when workers saw, cut, drill or crush rocks, bricks, blocks, concrete and products made of stone. Workers who inhale silica particles in the air can develop lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer.
- Hexavalent chromium – Exposure to this substance affects the kidneys, liver, respiratory system, skin and eyes. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen. It is used in paints, primers and surface coatings. Exposure can occur during welding.
Injuries and Illnesses Caused by Toxic Exposure
Toxic exposure on construction sites can cause a wide variety of adverse health effects. Common injuries and illnesses resulting from this occupational hazard include:
- Respiratory conditions and diseases.
- Various types of cancer.
- Damage to internal organs.
- Birth defects.
- Dermatitis and skin infections.
- Injury to the eyes.
Who may be Responsible for Toxic Exposure on Construction Sites
If you are suffering from health problems caused by workplace toxic exposure, it is possible that a third-party – such as a manufacturer, importer, contractor or subcontractor – is responsible for your injuries. Our firm offers a free consultation to our prospective clients. We can help you determine if you may have a personal injury claim against a party other than your employer.
Harmed by Toxic Exposure? Our Construction Accidents Lawyers can Help
Exposure to toxic chemicals and hazardous substances can have long-term, life-altering effects on the lives of workers. At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we have dedicated our practice to helping injured people obtain the compensation they deserve.
Our skilled legal team has more than 100 years of collective experience. We have a history of success in negotiating settlements and winning verdicts at trial for our clients. When you work with our firm, you can rest assured that we are dedicated to pursuing the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
Call us now or fill out our simple contact form for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case and advice about your legal options.
For a free legal consultation with a toxic exposure lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900