Consumers and workers in several industries are handling hazardous and toxic products every day, and many times are unaware of the health and chemical burn risks they face. Without proper safety equipment and respiratory protection, employees and consumers may inhale toxic fumes that can lead to acute illness or chronic lung disease and cancers.
Chemical burn injury cases often involve inhalation injury, eye injury, hand burns, allergic reactions, and burns to the mouth and nasal passage. Workers in agriculture, construction, mining, manufacturing, and several others may be at risk of workplace toxic exposure.
Chemical burns may result from employees or consumers coming into contact with strong acids, alkaloids or toxic products that cause contact and inhalation injury. Industrial solvents and cleaners are a large cause of chemical burn injury incidents. Rust removers, bathroom products, bleach, drain cleaners, Liquid Wrench, Safety Kleen, and other chemicals in laboratories and industrial workplaces are known to cause severe burn injuries.
One way to prevent workplace chemical burn injury is for employers to educate employees in proper Hazard Communication, which explains the symbols and labels on toxins and product risks. Proper training involves precautionary approaches, safety equipment use, and accident protocol. Employer training should be continual and refresher courses are encouraged by OSHA for long-term employees.
Joe Lyon is an experienced Toxic Tort Attorney and Product Liability Lawyer reviewing dangerous products and workplace chemical burn injury cases for plaintiffs nationwide.
Workplace Toxins & Chemical Burn Injury
There are numerous toxic materials and hazardous chemicals in many workplaces and even in household closets. Some more common chemicals and toxic products that have been known to cause chemical burn injury and respiratory illness include:
Chemical Burn Injury Prevention
Many toxins do not produce early warning signs of exposure, and before they eyes and nose become irritated, lung damage may already be in the works. Toxic gases may cause inflammation of the small airways (bronchiolitis) and lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs. Chronic exposure may lead to leukemia and other cancers.
To prevent severe chemical inhalation and burn injuries, employees and consumers should consider first safer alternatives. Safety experts also encourage modifying a cleaning process to reduce skin contact with industrial cleaners.
Ventilation is an important part of any safety guideline as well. Reducing airborne chemical exposure is critical. Maintaining skin and cleaning work areas can also help prevent skin and inhalation injury risks. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided by employers to avoid exposure to chemicals. PPE may include chemical-resistant gloves, aprons, coveralls, and masks.