Hazardous Substances Claim *
What is a Hazardous Substance?
A hazardous substance is any material or chemical which can cause damage, including an injury or illness. These substances are classed based on their health effects in terms of whether they can have an immediate effect or if an illness may develop over time. These materials can enter our systems through sin contact, inhalation or swallowing. Hazardous substances include;
- Toxins – cyanide, silica
- Corrosives – sulphuric acid
- Irritants – ammonia
- Carcinogens – benzene, asbestos
Overexposure to these materials can lead to the development of an illness over time which may leave the injured person with a lower quality of life. These claims are very commonly associated with accidents in the workplace * and are more common in certain industries where these substances may be used. It is important that there are health and safety practices and procedures in place in order to reduce the chance of an injury or illness being sustained.
Exposure in the workplace
Each year, many people develop an illness as a result of overexposure or contact with certain hazardous substances or chemicals. These materials are used in a number of industries and are necessary to carry out certain work-based activities. Following this type of accident, it is often the employer who is found liable as a result of employer negligence. All employers have a responsibility and duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees during the course of their work.
In order to do this, they are required to carry out frequent risk assessments which will help them to both identify and eliminate hazards. It is also their responsibility to ensure that all employees are made aware of the safety practices which are in place. It is more likely that an accident will occur if employees are not provided with the correct training and personal protective equipment that is needed to carry out their job in a safe manner.
Exposure in the environment
We are not just exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace but also in the environment. A common illness associated with this is Legionnaires’ disease which is caused by inhaling air which contains droplets of water which are infected with Legionella pneumophila. This is a more severe form of pneumonia that can only be caused by inhaling the bacteria associated with this illness. Common symptoms include a headache, muscle pain, shortness of breath and chest pain. It can be difficult to determine who is liable for the cause of this as there are not many ways in which this illness can be controlled.
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling of dizziness
- Chemical burns
- Nerve damage
Lack of training
This is a common cause of many accidents at work *. All employees should be trained on how to correctly carry out their job as this will reduce the chance of an accident occurring. This training is necessary for the safe running of the business and also for the health and safety of all employees.
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help to prevent accidents from happening. PPE includes clothing, footwear, hats, gloves, goggles and facial masks. This can prevent the hazardous substances from coming into contact with the skin. In the workplace, it is up to the employer to ensure that this equipment is provided for employees.
Inadequate rest breaks
In the workplace, it is important that all employees receive adequate rest breaks throughout their day. This is especially important in industries where there may be contact with hazardous substances as it will ensure that they are not exposed to too many materials for extended periods of time. These breaks also allow the employee to work better and at a quicker pace as they will not be carrying out repetitive tasks throughout their work. When working with harmful chemicals it is important that the work is divided out so that one person is not working with the materials for a long period of time as this can lead to overexposure.
Overexposure to Hazardous Substances
This is one of the most common reasons for a hazardous substances claim to be made. Overexposure to these materials can lead to various illnesses being developed. There should be preventative measures in place to stop this from happening as this can be a common claim made.
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