According to the safety standards prescribed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, employers must protect their employees from known hazards. However, they must also inform workers of all the potential dangers posed by their jobs. Toxic exposure is one hazard that could cause serious injuries or illnesses if proper precautions are not in place.
Formaldehyde is one of the chemicals that is known to be used in morgues. However, workers in other industries might be unaware that they could be exposed to formaldehyde. Additional formaldehyde uses include paper product coatings, glue and a variety of household items and chemicals. Formaldehyde is also an ingredient in many disinfectants, industrial germicides and fungicides.
Although formaldehyde is a colorless gas, it has a strong smell. Exposed workers can inhale the gas or vapor, and in the liquid form, it can be absorbed through the skin. It could cause severe irritation in the nose, eyes and throats of exposed workers. Dermatitis and other skin irritations and itching can also follow exposure. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde, both inhalation and skin absorption, can cause respiratory problems similar to asthma, and even cancer.
Workers who suffer any of the consequences of toxic exposure may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes, the benefits claims process seems daunting for workers who are focused on recovering and getting back to work. This is where the skills of an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can be an invaluable asset. Legal counsel can navigate the process on behalf of the worker and ensure that the maximum applicable benefits are obtained.