Employers in New York and throughout the country are required to keep their employees safe from potential hazards. As a general rule, working near toxic chemicals qualifies as a potential hazard. There are various ways that you could be hurt while handling or otherwise interacting with them.
Chemicals could burn or irritate your skin
Hydrochloric acid or bleach could cause significant chemical burns if they make contact with your skin. Symptoms of chemical burns include swelling, blisters and nerve damage. Nerve damage may be especially dangerous because it inhibits your ability to feel pain. This means that you may not seek treatment in a timely manner the next time a chemical splashes or drips on your arms, legs or face.
You may ingest or inhale toxic substances
Ingesting or inhaling even small amounts of ammonia, paint thinner or other toxic materials could result in mouth, throat or lung damage. Prolonged exposure to airborne chemicals may increase your risk of developing cancer or other health problems.
Your food or water may be contaminated
If the water that you drink at work comes from a contaminated source, you could be ingesting large amounts of chlorine or other toxins. The same may be true if you eat fish or other food in an employee cafeteria that was washed with contaminated water or coated with pesticides.
Victims of workplace injuries caused by exposure to dangerous materials may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are injured at work, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney. He or she may help you recover compensation for lost wages and medical bills incurred in the aftermath of an accident that took place at work.