There are about 32 million workers in the US who are regularly exposed to chemical hazards, according to the US Department of Labor. And with around 650,000 chemical products already available in the market and hundreds more being introduced every year, both employees and employers have a lot to be concerned about.
While factory workers, construction workers, those in the cleaning business, and those whose work is directly involved in the extraction or manufacture of hazardous substances, face the greatest risk of injury and/or illness, office workers also get a share of the danger whenever paint, cleaning chemicals and other dangerous substances are used in their work area that is poorly ventilated.
The injury that chemicals can cause depends on their type and a person’s level of exposure to these. Besides direct skin contact, a person can also be injured through ingestion or swallowing, which happens when, after handling the toxic substance, the person eats or smokes without washing his/her hands first, or through inhalation of chemical fumes. The toxic gases and vapors released by chemicals not only irritate one’s nose and throat; often, these fumes settle into the blood stream or lungs, where these create the worst and deadliest damages.
The injurious effects of chemicals include serious health disorders, damage to internal organs, respiratory problems, birth defects, disfigurement, and severe burns. Burns are caused not only by fire or contact with a very hot object (thermal burn), but by chemicals too. And, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication standard (HCS), the worst thing about chemicals is that these not only cause physical hazards, but health hazards as well.
By physical hazard, HSC means that a chemical is not just combustible or flammable, but supports fire or burning too. Health hazard, on the other hand, means that a chemical can cause severe or lasting health effects in workers who are regularly exposed it.
The website of The Law Offices of Crowe & Mulvey, LLC, points out the consequences and the extreme pain and difficulties that burn victims can suffer from. Besides the possible permanent damage that burns can cause, there will also definitely be the costly medical bills and, possibly, life-changing disabilities.