Company disregards workers’ rights with cadmium exposure
Colorado employees of companies involved in electroplating are exposed to life-threatening hazards. The Chemical process involves extremely hazardous chemicals, including lead and cadmium. In connection with one of its recent inspections, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently noted that, sadly, some employers disregard their workers’ rights to safe environments by repeatedly violating safety regulations.
The electroplating company is based in another state, and OSHA determined the company had not established necessary safety programs despite being cited for exposing workers to cadmium and lead in 2010. Some of the repeat violations included the failure to provide informational training related to the hazards of cadmium exposure. Furthermore, initial exposure was not determined, and the employers failed to ensure that workers were medically able to wear their respirators when necessary.
Workers were also allowed to eat and drink in areas in which hexavalent chromium, another toxic substance, was present. Many workers are not even aware of how deadly exposure to cadmium and its compounds can be. Exposure targets the cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory systems, along with the gastrointestinal, renal and reproductive systems. Cadmium is also a known carcinogen.
Although OSHA’s inspections may ultimately lead to safer work environments and recognition of workers’ rights, many workers may already suffer the consequences of exposure to hazardous toxic substances. Financial relief to assist victims with medical expenses and lost income may be pursued through the benefits offered by the workers’ compensation insurance fund. However, symptoms may not be evident for some time, and pinpointing the onset of the condition may be difficult. Fortunately, experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys are available to protect the rights of workers who suffer from occupational diseases.