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Toxins in the workplace

If you work in an industry that exposes you regularly to toxins and other chemical hazards, your health may have already been adversely affected by these exposures.

Your employer has the responsibility to protect its workers from workplace exposures and hazards. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates the amounts of toxic substances that employees can be exposed to on the job.

The Hazard Communication Standard was implemented by OSHA to ensure that workers have access to information about toxic substances and chemical hazards that are present in the workplace. OSHA also stipulates that workers are told ways that they can protect themselves and reduce exposures.

The HCS requires that workplaces with hazardous chemicals must provide safety data sheets and labels for all exposed workers who must be properly trained to safely handle these potentially dangerous substances.

Also, under the HCS, chemical importers and manufacturers must evaluate the hazards of these chemicals and ensure the safety data sheets and labels convey information about the hazards to their customers downstream.

Companies must also identify and evaluate respiratory hazard(s) that are present. Occupational Exposure Limits that have been established and which are listed by OSHA vary per substance across those industries that use these toxic substances.

When it comes to workplace toxins, some industries may require employees to handle these substances, but if an overexposure or toxic release occurs, the injured and affected workers have the right to file for workers' compensation benefits.

If your on-the-job toxic exposure claim gets denied, or you are permanently disabled from the exposure, you may need to take legal action to more forward with your claim.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances," accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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