3 Ways Employers Expose Staff to Harmful Substances or Environments
Any job involves some degree of personal risk, but some occupations are far more dangerous than other forms of employment. For example, there are careers that put a worker directly in harm’s way by exposing them either to hazardous substances or environments.
Employers typically have obligations to their workers if their job responsibilities could result in personal risk. Disclosure to the workers is of the utmost importance, as is providing proper training and safety equipment for workers to minimize their risk and to benefit from workers’ compensation coverage in case of an adverse outcome. These are just some of the ways that employers expose their workers to dangers in the workplace.
Handling toxic substances
Not every material utilized in modern industry is safe for people. For example, asbestos currently plays a major role in the manufacturing of water sanitation chemicals. The workers processing that asbestos could end up developing cancer years later because of that toxic exposure on the job. Workers should receive advance notice about any potentially hazardous substance exposure on the job, and there should be systems in place to minimize their risk and personal exposure levels.
Entering unsafe environments
There are many factors that might make a space where someone must perform their job more dangerous than the average location. Radiation, extreme temperatures, powerful noise, changes in air and/or water pressure and low levels of oxygen are all factors that could make an environment particularly dangerous. Employers should identify risk factors, seek to adjust for them as much as possible and ensure their workers have the training and the equipment necessary for their protection in such environments.
Experiencing profound trauma or stress
Some jobs don’t involve physically dangerous situations, but they can still cause permanent consequences for the people involved. Intensely stressful or traumatic events, such as those experienced by paramedics or workers present during an industrial accident, can lead to mental health challenges that produce physical issues for the affected workers.
Anyone who has been harmed by exposure to unsafe environment, toxic substances or traumatic events may potentially be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for at least some of their care costs and lost wages. Learning more about job risks can help individual employees maximize their own safety and understand what forms of compensation they may be able to access in the event that they suffer harm while on the job.