In a rare case of on-the-job hazardous conditions and work clothing requirements, a machinist in an industrial plant blamed his ailments on a severe blister caused by wearing steel-toed boots required for his job. Because he was required to wear the boots he filed worker’s compensation for this injury. The injury led to the amputation of his leg, further exacerbated by complications stemming from previous health conditions he had experienced.
For many of us, the hazards of working for an employer are minimal: we work in an office or at home, and rarely encounter work conditions that may prove hazardous or fatal. But, what if your place of employment requires you to wear certain clothing or protective gear that later causes an injury or gets in the way of your safety, as in the situation above? Perhaps your exposure and prolonged use of (or in the areas of ) chemicals, pesticides or asbestos has taken its toll, particularly if you work in an industry that requires your contact with these materials day in and day out. Long-term effects of wearing improperly designed clothing, or coming into contact with hazardous chemicals and toxins in the environment at your place of employment can lead to ailments like diabetes, skin conditions, certain cancers and death. If you are a worker required to wear certain clothing, or be exposure to certain conditions, what are ways you can protect yourself?
- To be proactive in the use of chemicals and before any potential accidents occur, make sure all containers are properly labeled and that expiration dates are taken seriously.
- Despite the required use of the boots in the above scenario, it’s generally a safe practice to use gloves, eye gear, headgear and other clothing specifically designed for the work conditions. Ensure all clothing has proper ventilation, that it fits properly and that it has been tested accordingly to withstand the work conditions for a particular environment.
- Use reflective vests or striping on clothing, when required.
- Ensure minimal skin exposure when you are in contact with hazardous materials, regardless of how short of a time you plan to be in the area.
Successful treatment and results for coming in contact with a hazardous material could be as short as 10-15 minutes if decontamination occurs right after initial contact, or it could result in the worker suffering from effects that have progressively become worse over the years. Certain industries implement guidelines for treating chemical exposure in jobs that are deemed more hazardous than others.
If you feel you have suffered the effects of your work conditions, or that the clothing you were required to wear did not do the job it was supposed to, you might have a product defect case, and/or a case against your employer for improper work conditions. Proving a claim can be complicated without the right type of assistance. Your New York attorney will be able to assist you with the steps it takes to bring your case to justice.
Always remember that guidelines are in place to protect the worker, and could cause complications if the material is faulty or if regulations and guidelines are not updated. Do your part by staying safe at work.