When discussing workplace accidents, it is easy to overlook those who suffer from exposure to the chemicals used in a variety of workplaces. Unfortunately, toxic exposure can have serious consequences, including some side effects that may not be felt until years later. An incident at a California processing plant recently sent 20 workers to the hospital.
One worker claims that a strong smell of chlorine was noted, but a crew leader simply advised workers to put on a mask. Unfortunately, workers began to feel ill as the shift continued, with many feeling faint, vomiting and experiencing nosebleeds. In all, 20 workers, including two pregnant women, required hospital treatment. A representative for the fire department believes that the incident was caused by combining chlorine and acetic acid, chemicals used for cleaning.
This is not the first incident involving toxic exposure at the Taylor Farms processing plant. In a similar incident in 2012, 20 workers were also sent to the hospital due to a chemical spill. Taylor Farms was fined by the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a result of that incident. In 2014, workers filed a complaint with OSHA that expressed concern regarding exposure to chlorine.
The effects of chronic toxic exposure may be slow to arise. However, many people face long term effects, requiring them to miss work in addition to needing extensive medical treatment. Many workers in California who need workers' compensation benefits may have difficulty proving that their medical conditions resulted from such exposure. As a result, they turn to experienced professionals who can not only help them prove their claims but also help them seek the compensation they deserve.
Source: thecalifornian.com, "20 salad workers hospitalized in chemical spill", Natalie Jacewicz, Oct. 19, 2015