Injuries from Toxic Substances at Work

Dangerous toxic substances and materials are manufactured and used in factories, present in a variety of different industries, and often disposed of with the help of hazardous waste workers.

Unfortunately, workers who are employed in industries where toxic substances are present are at risk of being exposed to the harmful substances and materials in the event of a spill or workplace accident or even as part of their normal job duties. If exposure to toxic substances occurs, a worker is at risk of sustaining an injury or developing an illness.

Toxic Substances Video

Classification of Toxic Materials

Below are some categories of harmful and toxic substances that workers may encounter.

  • Irritants
  • Asphyxiants
  • Narcotics or anesthetics
  • Systemic poisons
  • Carcinogens
  • Mutagens
  • Teratogens
  • Sensitizers

All of the classifications of toxic materials listed above can be dangerous. Asphyxiants, for example, deplete the supply of oxygen to body tissues; carcinogens can cause cancer; and teratogens can generate defects in the fetus of a pregnant woman.

Dangers of Toxic Materials

Toxic materials can enter the body in three ways: ingestion, absorption through the skin or eyes, and inhalation. Any time a toxic substance enters the body, a worker is at risk of harm.

Some common toxic materials that are used in the workplace are as follows.

  • Methylene chloride
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Acetone
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be fatal if swallowed. Other toxic materials, like methylene chloride, isopropyl alcohol, and acetone are all mild nervous system depressants that may cause aspiration of the lungs if ingested. There are many other toxic substances to which workers may become exposed. Any worker who is exposed and harmed should seek medical attention right away.

Understand Workers’ Compensation in Washington State

If you’ve been exposed to toxic materials, you may qualify for benefits provided by Washington State Workers’ Compensation Law. After the exposure to the toxic substance(s), it’s important that you seek medical care immediately if it’s an emergency and report the incident to your employer as soon as possible.

If your claim for benefits is accepted, then workers’ compensation will pay for your medical care. Additionally, if the exposure to toxic materials left you with a disease or injury preventing you from returning to work, then you may qualify for compensation for a portion of your lost wages.

You can file a claim for workers’ compensation online, at your doctor’s office, or via telephone. In order to file a claim, you will have to complete required paperwork.

The paperwork will ask questions about the following and more.

  • Your work history
  • Your disease/illness/injury
  • How the accident happened

If your paperwork is incomplete, or filed outside of the required deadline, then your claim may be denied.

For an injury, you have one year from the date that the injury occurred to file a claim; for an occupational disease (such as if a toxic substance exposure caused lung cancer), you have two years from the date of the diagnosis from a doctor to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Get Legal Help from Ron Meyers & Associates Today!

If you need to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits following exposure to a toxic substance while on the job, an attorney can help you to get started. With a thorough understanding of workers’ compensation laws, the attorneys at Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC know what it takes to make sure you get the benefits to which you’re entitled. If you need help filing a claim or appealing a denied claim, call our offices now at 844-920-2438.