Carbon monoxide is known as a dangerous gas. Exposure can quickly become deadly with most people unaware that they have come into contact with anything that could cause significant damage. While people in California and across the country are aware of the dangers associated with exposure, many are unaware when the threat of exposure is imminent. For example, multiple out-of-state workers were recently hospitalized as a result of toxic exposure.
Welders and other metalworkers in California may not be aware of the effects that welding fumes can have on the body. Most welding fumes contain a small amount of the metal manganese, which, while normally produced by the body's dietary system, can be harmful if inhaled.
While most people in California may think of workplace injuries as only including obvious personal physical injuries, exposure to a number of different chemicals can lead to disorders and diseases as well. These occupational or work-related injuries and illnesses may also be covered under workers' compensation.
In California, workplace accidents can involve many types of dangers in addition to the classic equipment or fall hazards. As illustrated by a recent and sobering case out of Texas, workers are sometimes killed or injured while working around and with hazardous substances, such as chemicals.
California workers may benefit from learning more about the dangers asbestos exposure can present at the workplace. The microscopic particles that make up asbestos are easily inhaled and cause asbestosis, an inflammatory condition in the lungs that may lead to scaring, coughing and shortness of breath. The primary symptom of asbestos exposure is shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include tightness in the chest, loss of appetite, chest pain, persistent cough accompanied by mucus or a dry cough accompanied by sounds from the lungs.
California workers may benefit from reviewing some of the U.S. Department of Labor's information on handling chemical hazards and toxic substances. These materials are considered to cause physical hazards that include corrosion, reactivity and flammability. The materials are often hazardous to the health as well, typically by increasing carcinogenicity, sensitization and irritation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the authority responsible for ensuring employers adequately inform workers about the safety risks located in workplace.
California regulatory agencies have considered the chemical trichloroethylene to be a health hazard for some time. Now the federal Environmental Protection Agency has issued a finalized risk assessment of the chemical that identifies serious health risks for consumers using products containing TCE and employees working in industries utilizing it.
California construction sites can be steeped with many readily recognizable hazards. Heavy machinery, scaffoldings and piles of debris all hold a host of potential dangers. Yet of equal concern should be those threats that are not so easily visible.
Parents in Los Angeles County may have read about a group of teachers working to press their district into further testing for toxins on a campus shared by three schools. The action started with three teachers diagnosed positive for thyroid cancer. A series of tests on indoor air quality had already revealed PCB levels in excess of federal standards. Failure of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to perform a more thorough round of testing has prompted fears among faculty of toxic exposure in an unsafe workplace.
Los Angeles construction companies and workers may be following with interest a request to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that calls for an extension on the comment period on proposed changes to rules regulating silica exposure standards. Organizations requesting the extension include Associated Builders and Contractors, Construction Industry Safety Coalition and the National Association of Manufacturers.