Some types of employees here in Colorado know that their jobs carry a degree of risk. These dangers typically relate to physical safety, such as a risk of falling or the risks of operating heavy machinery. There are some workers, however, who face other types of dangers that may not immediately come to mind. These are workers who, for many reasons, may be exposed to toxic or unsafe chemicals while they are at work. These employees may not be fully aware of what workers’ rights entail if they are working in close proximity to hazardous materials, though they do exist.
Employers are legally obligated to disclose to their workers that toxic chemicals may be present in the workplace and also to supply information regarding the chemicals. They are expected to have Material Safety Data Sheets that describe how to handle the chemicals safely and contains descriptive data relating to each chemical. Warning labels and signage should also be in place on any potentially-dangerous product or workplace area.
If an employee is working near or with toxic chemicals, there are steps he or she can take to help minimize exposure. Changing the chemical itself or the procedure with which the chemical is handled may improve the situation. Ensuring that ventilation systems are in use along with any available protective equipment can further reduce danger. If an employer is not willing to reasonably assist an employee in facilitating proper safety procedures, further action with authorities such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may be needed.
Any Colorado employee who is sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace may decide to file for workers’ compensation. Doing so could help him or her cover medical expenses and lost wages that he or she might incur after continued exposure to chemicals. More information on toxic chemicals and [url=‘http://employment.FindLaw.com/workplace-safety/toxic-exposure-in-the-workplace.html’]workers’ rights[/url] may help answer any questions that employees might have.
Source: FindLaw, “Toxic Exposure in the Workplace“, , Aug. 30, 2014