What Workers Need To Know About Toxic Workplaces And Workers' Compensation

Law Blog

If your work involves exposure to toxic substances, you might be entitled to workers' compensation as a result. While almost all workplaces hold the potential for becoming toxic, some present workers with a constant challenge to stay safe. In some cases, it is the cumulative effects of workplace toxins that do damage to workers. The longer toxic substances remain in the carpets, upholstery, and the air, the more damage can be done.

What are toxic substances? They are many and can be found in innocuous items like cleaning products and new carpeting along with solvents, preservatives, and things used in manufacturing like asbestos. Health issues from toxic workplaces are well-documented with more and more medical conditions being added to the list all the time. COPD and other lung problems from inhaling toxic substances can be minor but often cause severe and permanent damage before they are discovered.

Affected workers should be able to draw a line from their medical condition to the workplace when claiming workers' compensation benefits. Workers must also be cautioned that filing a claim involving a toxic workplace can present unique challenges—particularly for those who were exposed over the course of many months or even years. That means workers must be prepared for the challenge by taking the following actions as soon as they suspect a problem.

  • Seek medical help right away. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can get medical treatment and file a claim for benefits.
  • Let your direct supervisor know about your illness as soon as possible. Note that workers' compensation laws vary from state to state and some require the supervisor to file a claim for you and others put that responsibility on the hurt workers.
  • If you are referred to a specialist, such as a pulmonary doctor or a cancer specialist, workers' comp should pay for any ordered medical care, including medications and diagnostic tests.
  • Do not sign a claim form that has blanks or mistakes. Look it over carefully before you sign it.
  • Alert your coworkers to your illness. If you are affected, they might be too. As a result, you may both need to file for workers' compensation.

 When things do not go well, seek the help of a workers' compensation lawyer. They know how the process works and what to do to ensure you are paid the benefits you need. Contact a workers' compensation lawyer for more information.


18 January 2021