Benzene Poisoning Claim *
Benzene is an organic chemical compound which is made up of six carbon atoms. It is classed as a hydrocarbon as it only contains carbon and hydrogen atoms. This chemical is found in crude oil and is a major part of gasoline. It is an industrial chemical which can be used to make many different products which can include;
- Synthetic fibres
- Paint and varnish removers
- Adhesives and coatings
Long-term exposure to benzene can have a major effect on the blood and can often create an issue with bone marrow and decreased red blood cells. This can then lead to anaemia. Benzene is often used in a number of industries for a number of reasons. Overexposure to this harmful chemical can lead to poisoning and other types of illness. This is more commonly associated with workplace accidents * and injuries because of negligent behaviour or a breach in duty of care.
There are a number of different types of benzene which can all lead to some form of poisoning if used incorrectly or as a result of overexposure.
Also known as Toluene this is an aromatic hydrocarbon which is colourless and water-insoluble. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative.
This is an organic compound which is a highly flammable and colourless liquid similar to gasoline.
This is an aromatic organic compound which is another form of benzene. It is often used in the manufacturing process of other chemicals.
This is another type of benzene which is made through the nitration of benzene. This is also known as mixed acid as the chemical is mixed with sulfuric and nitric acid.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
This is the main legislation in Ireland which provides for the health and safety of employees throughout the course of their work. This act outlines the duties of both the employer and employee in relation to providing a safe working environment and how an employee cannot act negligently while carrying out their work.
- Ensuring that the working environment is practical for the work that is to be carried out
- Managing activities in a way which prioritises health and safety
- Ensuring that there are safety measures in place which can help to prevent accidents *
- Providing employees with adequate training and protective equipment which is necessary to carry out their job in a safe manner
- Attend any training which is provided to them by their employer
- Co-operate with their employer in relation to following health and safety regulations
- Do not act negligently as this may lead to an accident or injury *
- Report any problems or defects that are noticed throughout the course of their work
Failing to carry out these duties can lead to workplace accidents and injuries. It is important that health and safety regulations are followed at all times. Employers are also expected to carry out frequent risk assessments in order to both identify and eliminate potential hazards in the working environment. The results of these assessments should also be given to employees to make them aware of preventative measures which are in place and how they can help in ensuring that injuries are not sustained.
Symptoms of Benzene Poisoning
The symptoms that you may experience as a result of benzene poisoning will vary depending on a number of factors which include;
- How long you were exposed to the chemical
- Your health prior to exposure and poisoning
- How often you were exposed to benzene
Common symptoms of benzene can include the following symptoms;
- Abnormalities of white blood cells
- Bone marrow issues
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin damage
- Heart Problems
- Internal Injuries
- Irritation of the eyes and skin
- Acute leukaemia
- Salicylate Poisoning
- Organophosphate Poisoning
What causes Benzene Poisoning?
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is required in all workplaces in order to prevent injury or illness. This can include clothing, footwear, hats, gloves, glasses and facial protection. Failing to wear this equipment can lead to benzene poisoning as a result of direct contact with the harmful chemical or through inhalation or swallowing of fumes.
This is often the leading cause of many workplace injuries. All employees should be provided with the necessary training needed by them prior to carrying out their work. This training should be provided to them by their employer. If employees have received the correct training, the risk of an injury being sustained is reduced. If employees are trained on their work and how to carry out their job in a safe manner they are more likely to be aware of the preventative measures to ensure that an accident does not occur.
Inadequate rest breaks
It is important that all employees are provided with adequate rest breaks throughout their working day. Those who work with harmful chemicals and substances should take frequent breaks from their work to ensure that overexposure does not occur. The work that is being carried out should also be varied to include other tasks which does not involve coming into contact with benzene.
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