Suffering from a Chemical Injury
Not everyone will be exposed to harmful and dangerous chemicals in their place of work. For those that do, employers have a legal duty to minimise the dangers posed and protect workers within practical reason.
A dangerous chemical may be one which is harmful to the environment or health. This may be through contact with the skin, inhalation or ingestion.
Main Causes to Chemical Accidents
When thinking about dangerous chemicals, it would be naive to think they are only handled by laboratory technicians. In fact, some of the most common professions to handle chemicals are:
- Kitchen workers
- Pest controllers
- Chemical factory workers
Whilst most chemicals can be used and controlled safely, if not handled or stored in the correct way, it can have severe consequences.
- Health risks such as cancer, skin conditions and lung conditions if certain chemicals are inhaled, absorbed or swallowed
- Chemical poisoning (a common one being lead poisoning) which can cause anaemia, headaches and stomach problems
- Damage to the skin if it comes into contact with it
- Flammable chemicals causing fires or explosions
It is an employee’s responsibility to ensure that any training they are given is correctly followed and any safety procedures are adhered to. It is vital that employees follow such procedures when dealing with toxic and hazardous chemicals so to protect their own health and safety as well as others. Workers should always report any safety issues they are worried about as soon as possible after identification.
It is an employer’s responsibility to keep risks of chemical accidents as low as is reasonably practical. The health and safety of employees should be paramount and employers are bound by law to protect them. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 advise preventing the risk of exposure at source. This means the actual chemical should be assessed for its need and safety to reduce exposure risks as well secondary safety measures put in place.
Dealing with chemicals in the workplace can be a hazardous and dangerous task so it is vital that employers understand the gravity of the chemicals they hold, the consequences of misuse and have the correct safety controls in place to deal with any risks
1) Risk Assessments
- Regular risk assessments should be made
- Consider the need for the hazardous chemical at all – can the job be done using something less harmful?
- How long are workers exposed for? Is this time within regulations and can it be reduced?
- Many dangerous chemicals come with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) which can help employers to conduct the most appropriate risk assessments
- Safety controls should be implemented and enforced
- There should be robust emergency procedures in place in case of a chemical accident
2) Ensure Safe Use
- Workers should be trained on how to correctly and safely handle the chemicals they are using
- Is the chemical in the safest form it can be in i.e. some chemicals are less harmful when a solid as this avoids splash risks
3) Ensure Safe Storage
- Chemicals should be stored safely and securely
- Only those with the right training should have access to them
- Chemicals should be stored in the correct environment and temperatures
- Disposal of chemicals should always be done correctly and within guidelines
4) Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- This may also include Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
- PPE may include suitable and protective gloves, footwear, clothing, and eye protection
- Each PPE and RPE should be provided with clear information and training on when and how to use. This includes cleaning up spillages and handling any chemicals
- PPE should fit properly and provide the right amount of protection for the exposure level
If these responsibilities are not followed, an employer may be negligent in their health and safety protection for employees. This can lead to a chemical accident which can have disastrous and sometimes life changing consequences for those affected.
Can I Make a Claim?
If you have suffered consequences to your health in the last 3 years related to the unsafe use or improper storage chemicals, or a chemical accident in the workplace, you may be eligible for compensation. Injury Lawyers UK will listen to your case and make an assessment as to whether you have a potentially successful chance of securing compensation.
How Can Injury Lawyers UK Help?
We put people at the heart of what we do and understand that injuries suffered as a result of a workplace chemical accident not only impact on you and your family physically but also emotionally and financially. When securing compensation this does not just take into consideration the pain suffered but also any loss of past or future earnings, emotional trauma suffered and any rehabilitation services you need to access.
At Injury Lawyers UK we have over 20 years of experience in successfully securing compensation for individuals who have suffered an accident that was not their fault. We take you through the process using clear and jargon free plain English so you always understand each aspect of the process. Initially, one of our legal advisers will talk through your case with you to decide if you have a chance of a successful claim.
We have a no win, no fee policy so you never have to feel stressed about costs. We will always try to secure the maximum compensation available so that you get the full justice you deserve.
Speak to one of our legal advisers by calling 0800 1123 156, texting “CONTACT” to 80011 or by completing our quick online claim form and we will get back to you.