Hazards abound at construction sites, from heavy machinery to power tools. Less common but equally dangerous is chemical exposure. Construction site and industrial workers often inhale or absorb dangerous gases and toxins such as carbon monoxide, crude oil, and asbestos. These toxins can cause short- and long-term damages including burns, respiratory failure, and even cancer.
Chemical exposure lawyers like Michael Shelton at The Shelton Law Firm can help you pursue justice in the wake of injuries caused by contact with dangerous chemicals. As a former oil rig worker, he is proud to represent the workers in the industry in the Houston, TX, area.
Understanding the Danger of Chemicals and Gases
At construction and industrial worksites, workers often come into contact with hazardous industrial substances such as lead, silica, mercury, and toxic chemicals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 13 million Americans are potentially exposed to these substances at work. Whether inhaled or absorbed through the skin, they can cause serious diseases and health disorders. Construction and industrial workers are especially at risk.
Long-Term Effects of Chemical Exposure
Construction and industrial workers are subject to a long list of dangerous gases and toxins, including:
- Oil: In Texas, oil fields and refineries are everywhere. Exposure to crude oil fumes, liquid, or drops may cause respiratory problems, as well as irritate the skin and eyes.
- Asbestos: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), overexposure to asbestos is common in the construction industry. It has been used in building materials, pipe insulation, and tiling for decades. It can lead to lung damage, lung cancer, cancer of the stomach lining, and mesothelioma.
- Carbon Monoxide: Often referred to as a “silent killer,” carbon monoxide fumes are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and are difficult to pinpoint for those reasons. Without proper safety regulations, carbon monoxide poisoning from gas leaks is a very real possibility.
- Welding Fumes: Welders are routinely exposed to toxic welding fumes which can lead to lung disease and other illnesses.
- Lead: Our bodies can absorb and store lead for a long time before releasing it into our blood. As it spreads, it can cause anemia, decrease motor speed, damage the kidneys, and even result in reproductive issues.
- Silica: Exposure to silica typically occurs when workers cut or drill bricks, concrete, and stone products. Inhaling silica can lead to silicosis and cancer.
Employers must alert workers to the existence of such hazards and provide ways to protect themselves from their effects, free of charge.
Common Injuries Resulting from Chemical Exposure
Exposure to toxins at the workplace can result in a variety of injuries, such as:
- Burns: Whether through direct exposure to heat or chemical reactions, burns are exceptionally common. Unfortunately, chemical burns are not always immediately apparent and are especially tough to treat. They can lead to lasting infections and permanent injury.
- Respiratory Problems: For workers who work with dust and other particulates, asthma is a common occurrence. Dust, asbestos, and silica can scar the lungs and cause chronic coughing.
- Allergic Reactions: Serious allergic reactions can be life-threatening, shutting down a person’s nervous system and closing up their airways.
- Sensory Damage: Toxic chemicals can damage the eyes and other sensory organs. This is a big risk at construction sites in which acids and other powerful chemicals are used.
- Neurological Damage: Ingesting or inhaling certain toxic substances can cause brain damage, as the toxins interact with chemicals and receptors in the brain.
- Cancer: Exposure to carcinogenic substances can result in different types of cancer, including mesothelioma.
Many of these injuries can impact your health for the rest of your life.
Holding the Responsible Party Accountable
If you are a construction or industrial worker suffering from health problems due to exposure to harmful gases at the workplace, it is possible that the manufacturer, contractor, subcontractor, importer, or another party is responsible. As a staunch defender of industry workers who has represented plaintiffs for over 40 years, Michael Shelton knows how to identify the responsible party and secure maximum damages on your behalf.
Discuss Your Case with a Professional
If you were injured on the job in a gas exposure incident, attorney Michael Shelton can help. With decades of experience and a top tier track record, he is uniquely qualified to take on your case. Schedule a free initial consultation today by contacting us online or calling (713) 807-0700.