Many employees in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts work with caustic and toxic chemicals and materials in the course of their daily working lives. The types of jobs whereby an individual may encounter harmful and dangerous chemicals may surprise you; chemists and pharmacists working in laboratories are not the only workers who are at risk. Workers in every occupation, from dishwashing to mechanics, can come into contact with dangerous chemicals on a frequent basis.
Symptoms of Exposure
Common symptoms of harmful or dangerous chemicals can occur with breathing/lung issues, rashes, skin irritations, eye irritations, and discoloration of the skin. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Secondly, the Attorneys at Keches Law Group are well versed in this type of exposure and please contact our office today to speak with an expert workers compensation attorney to determine whether or not your injury due to harmful or dangerous chemicals is causally work-related.
Am I Covered?
Under Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation Chapter M.G.L. 152, the definition of an injury absolutely covers injuries which were caused by harmful or dangerous materials. It is important to note the distinction that both injuries caused by acute exposure to a harmful or dangerous chemical as well as injuries caused by exposure over the course of time both qualify as compensable, meaning injuries whereby an insurer is required to commence the payment of weekly benefits.
In many cases, an individual is unaware of the fact that they have been exposed to harmful or dangerous chemicals until a much later date. Under Massachusetts law, an injured worker has a four (4) year statute of limitations in which to file a compensation claim. However, the exception to this rule occurs when an individual becomes aware of their condition. This exception can extend the period of time beyond four years if your illness or injury became aware at a later date.
If your job requires the use of caustic or dangerous chemicals, your employer has a duty to supply you with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) upon request. These data sheets list, with specificity, the types of chemicals which you may be coming into contact with on a routine basis. If you feel that you have been exposed to harmful or dangerous chemicals please ask your employer for a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet for the type of chemical with which you work. There are many occupations, however, whereby an individual only comes into contact with chemicals in a minor fashion, such as a waitress coming into contact with dangerous cleaning detergent in the kitchen area of a restaurant. In this example, an injury caused by even small contact with this material would give rise to a covered workers’ compensation injury.
Please contact Keches Law Group immediately if you have or suspect that you are the victim of harmful or dangerous chemicals at work. Call us at 617-898-0808 or visit us online for a free consultation today.