Many individuals equate workers’ compensation with a single accident that causes an injury to a specific body part. Slipping in spills, for example, or lifting a heavy crate can lead to a serious injury that could take months to heal. However, there are numerous other types of work injuries to avoid.
Most commonly, employee injuries can come from a single accident, repetitive strain or toxic exposure. Exposure to toxic chemicals can lead to devastating illnesses and long-term conditions. Generally, exposure to toxic materials can occur in three ways, including:
- Absorption: Depending on the type of material and the level of personal protection of the employee, the material could be absorbed into the body directly through the skin. Hazardous chemicals and particulate matter can cause skin irritation and damage to the underlying tissue. Additionally, if the blood stream absorbs the toxic material, the substance can cause damage to various internal organs.
- Ingestion: Numerous factors can combine to lead to the ingestion of dangerous materials. From liquids that splash onto the face to dust trapped on the fingertips and spread to food, it is not uncommon for employees to unintentionally lick, taste or swallow hazardous substances.
- Inhalation: Some material is small enough to breathe into the lungs. Materials such as asbestos fibers or silica dust are small enough to be inhaled where they lodge in the lungs leading to conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or silicosis.
No matter the severity of the chemical exposure, it is important to seek a thorough medical diagnosis. Workers face illness, health trouble or a worsening condition based on several factors. It is crucial that workers act quickly to protect themselves and determine a course of medical treatment.