The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene recently underscored the importance of protecting workers against volatile organic compounds such as styrene, which is highly flammable. Exposure to such hazardous substances can cause workplace illness that could be debilitating or even fatal. Styrene is used in the manufacture of multiple products, and employees in some New York factories may not even be aware of the potential dangers.
A New York company that endeavors to eliminate the threat posed by hazardous waste on the environment has been found to be oblivious to the life-threatening dangers to which its workers are exposed. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was launched after complaints were filed by employees of Environmental Remediation Services. Upon completion of the inquiry, OSHA reported that the employees of the company were exposed to chemicals that could cause workplace illness.
Asbestos is a fiber that was widely used for decades in many different types of materials from car and train braking systems to building insulation and flooring tiles. It was primarily used because it was inexpensive and is fireproof. However, if these fibers are breathed in by anyone, they can cause irreparable damage to a person's lungs and other organs.
Being exposed to toxic chemicals -- over and over again -- puts workers at risk for serious health complications. Employers should know this and should be taking certain precautions to limit exposure. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case, and employees end up suffering.
Federal laws, often in the form of regulations promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, set many workplace safety standards. Workers’ compensation policies, in contrast, vary by state.
The election bumped Ebola out of the headlines for a day or two this week, but most of us knew that would not last. No sooner was one New York television station done reporting on the Senate races than it turned back to its coverage of "Ebola in America." The most recent development is the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation's announcement that the number of people under "active monitoring" for the Ebola virus more tripled this week. There are also rumors of a cover-up.
We are talking about whether a health care worker who contracts the Ebola virus from a patient could have a viable workers' compensation claim. At this point, there is no word that anyone who has tested positive has filed a claim, but the example gives us a high-profile, albeit scary, way to talk about work-related illnesses.
The country's response to the Ebola outbreak has escalated significantly, even as the 21-day watch periods expire for some health workers and airline passengers exposed to the virus. President Barack Obama has appointed an Ebola czar, more volunteers testing positive for the virus have returned to the country, and the number of cases and fatalities in West Africa continues to climb. On Oct. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website reported more than 10,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths.