Connecticut workers have the right to work in a safe environment. We all want to have the opportunity to have productive jobs in safe locations. Some Connecticut workers, however, may face the possibility of long-term exposure to toxic chemicals due to the nature and duration of their work. Such toxic exposure could prove hazardous to a worker’s health.

Employers must provide information to their employees about any toxins or chemicals present at a workplace. This information is often provided in Material Safety Data Sheets, which detail how particular substances should be handled. Failing to properly handle a toxic substance due to lack of knowledge could lead to a disease or illness that could have been prevented.

In the event toxic substances are present in a workplace, employers can try to reduce possible exposure for their workers. Personal protective equipment, such as a mask or protective clothing, can prevent contact with certain toxins. Proper ventilation at the place of employment may be help to control airborne substances that have the potential to be harmful to a person’s health. Isolation of hazards, through glove boxes or machine guards, for example, work by providing a barrier between a worker and the hazard.

Employers may have options to change particular operating procedures, such as by changing work schedules or limiting access to particularly hazardous areas, which then may reduce how often employees are exposed to chemical hazards. Additionally, a toxic substance could be totally replaced by a less hazardous, but still effective, chemical or product.

These are some ways that exposure may be limited or reduced, but, unfortunately, exposure to all toxic substances is unlikely to be completely eradicated in many workplaces. Workers who fear they have developed a work-related illness due to exposure to toxins may wish to seek out legal advice regarding potential options for legal recovery.

Source: FindLaw, “Toxic Exposure in the Workplace“, accessed June 26, 2015