There is an endless list of substances to which California workers in various industries are exposed every day. Just like with other workplace injuries, employers must ensure that workers are aware of the threats posed by hazardous chemicals, and provide safety training that deals with safe storage and handling of toxic substances. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribes the required safety standards.
Dangerous chemicals can enter a worker’s body through the inhalation of fumes, absorption through the skin, accidental ingestion or splashes into the eyes. It is the responsibility of employers to provide the required personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, gloves, and respirators when necessary. Chemical burns can have long-term consequences.
While injured workers in California are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the coverage is limited, and valid claims often cover only some of the damages. In many chemical burn cases, the manufacturer of the substance might be liable for monetary damages. Product liability lawsuit might be viable if there are design or manufacturing defects, or if the hazardous materials lack the necessary warnings.
California workers who have suffered chemical burns or other workplace injuries that might involve negligent third parties will likely have questions about their rights to legal recourse. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assess the circumstances and explain the legal rights, which might include filing both workers’ comp and third-party civil lawsuits. The lawyer will suggest the best way to proceed to pursue recovery of maximum benefits. While compensation insurance benefits are usually limited to medical expenses and lost wages, a successful civil claim might yield additional compensation for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages.