Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chemical Exposure Injuries and Minnesota Work Comp

There are thousands of different types of toxic chemicals that can cause hundreds of different types of chemical injuries. Direct skin contact with certain types of chemicals can cause chemical burns. Eye contact with certain types of chemical can cause serious eye injuries. Inhalation of certain types of chemicals can cause respiratory diseases or injuries. Exposure to some types of carcinogenic chemicals can cause cancer. Exposure to chemicals can be over a long period of time, and the onset of symptoms can be very gradual and slow in developing. Workers in almost every industry are exposed to at least some type of toxic chemical every day.

Substances containing zinc, lead, mercury and arsenic are toxic to a person’s organs. Exposure to zinc, lead, mercury and arsenic can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, shortness of breath, and abnormal heart rhythm. Significant exposure to these substances can cause coma, seizures, or even death. Skin or eye contact to these chemicals can cause burns.

Acids, such as hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, and alkalines, such as sodium ammonium hydroxide, can cause severe chemical burns if they come into contact with the skins. Ingestion of these chemicals can cause internal burns to the digestive system, and eye exposure can lead to vision impairment or blindness. Respiratory exposure can also result in respiratory injury.

Hydrocarbons, contained in things like gasoline, kerosene, paint thinners, and furniture polish can cause respiratory injury if inhaled, and skin contact can result in chemical burns. Even in small amounts, chemical spills and leaks can be hazardous to workers.

Employees who spot chemical spills in the workplace should notify the appropriate person of 1) the substance involved in the spill, if known, 2) the size of the spill, 3) the approximate rate of flow, and 4) any known exposures.

Unfortunately, chemical injuries can develop or a long period of time after long-term exposure, the symptoms associated with certain types of chemical injuries can mimic other types of conditions, and chemical injuries can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. If you suffer a chemical injury as a result of exposure to chemicals in your workplace, you may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation benefits.

Unfortunately, chemical exposure injury claims can be very contentious, and workers’ compensation insurers very frequently dispute these types of claims. A Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the Minnesota workers’ compensation maze and make sure that your interests are protected.

To schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email.


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