Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Emissions of toxic chemical dust can cause workplace injuries

Federal and state safety authorities prescribe strict regulations to protect workers nationwide, including California, from the dangers posed by combustible dust. All chemical manufacturing plants mix hazardous compounds, and employers must protect employees from known hazards that could cause workplace injuries. They must comply with specific and general safety standards.

These regulations specify permissible exposure limits, and exceeding those limits can cause serious health problems. Chemical processing typically involves blending, drying, mixing and conveying compounds that become airborne. Not only do they create dangerous air quality, but they also pose significant explosion and fire hazards.

Each facility's dust issues are unique, based on the chemical products they use and the processes used in the production. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health expects employers to keep the dust levels below the permissible exposure levels. Furthermore, chemical manufacturing facilities must comply with the safety standards of the National Fire Protection Association to mitigate fire and explosion hazards.

Employees in California who work at chemical plants can suffer severe injuries in fires resulting from accumulations of combustible dust. Burn injuries can be life altering because of the scars they may leave. When skin grafts are necessary, the injured workers might be unable to return to work for an extended period. This could lead to wage losses along with mounting medical bills.

However, financial assistance is available through the California workers' compensation insurance program. An experienced attorney can provide valuable support and guidance along every step of the way. Along with a percentage of lost wages paid to victims whose workplace injuries caused temporary disability, all medical expenses will be paid immediately.

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