In May 2014, a complaint was filed after hazardous chemicals leaked out of a DuPont tanker truck. Workers at the facility were exposed to the chemicals. Following this incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decided to conduct an investigation. According to a news report in The South Jersey Times, OSHA has cited DuPont Chambers Works for 11 safety and health violations at their New Jersey location. The proposed penalties include $120,300 in fines.
Investigators found that the chemicals used at the New Jersey plant are “corrosive and volatile.” OSHA investigators also stated that this particular facility stores and utilizes on premises toxic, corrosive, explosive, and flammable liquids. This means that workers are at risk of toxic exposure and even burn injuries.
Workplaces that have toxic or flammable materials present must properly train employees and effectuate proper use, transport and securing of the dangerous chemicals. Employees also need to be properly instructed on what to do in case of an accident involving exposure or potential exposure to the referenced chemicals. Facilities with such potentially dangerous substances need to also have on premises the means and training to properly respond during a potential chemical leak including provision of respirators if chemicals may become airborne; and to have adequate evacuation protocol for employees.
Not all toxic exposure incidents result in immediate injury or illness. Some employees are exposed to harmful chemicals over a prolonged period of time during the normal course of their employment. The exposure may not always become obvious until symptoms appear. Symptoms of exposure may progress slowly; raising issues as to how and when injuries may have occurred.
Whether it is through prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals during the course of performing typical employment duties and activities, or a result of an acute incident, injured workers in New Jersey have the right to pursue financial compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages stemming from their injuries.
If you are ill or are experiencing symptoms related to toxic exposure, you should seek medical attention immediately and your employer should also be notified right away. Not only will this help protect your health to any degree possible, but it will also create timely documentation relative to the exposure, your symptoms, condition and diagnosis.
Once your medical needs have been met, contact an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer who will help protect your rights, assist in securing required ongoing treatment, and can help you pursue fair compensation for your losses.