Thousands of workers suit up and head out on Spokane construction sites each day. When looking at a worksite, it is easy to understand why this line of work is so hazardous. Between the tall heights and heavy equipment, workers have to navigate some treacherous areas.
One of the dangers that can be harder to spot is the threat of exposure to toxic chemicals. These chemicals can include Asbestos and formaldehyde. The deadly effects can appear suddenly or can build up over time with repeated exposure on the job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that in a single year between 30 and 60 U.S. workers die on the job after a single episode of inhaling a chemical. Of course, the fatalities caused by long term exposure are often harder to track.
Common Causes of Chemical Exposure Injuries
Tox Town, a group that monitors environmental hazards in communities, put together a list of some of the chemicals most likely to threaten the health of construction workers and anyone who lives or travels near a site.
The number one threat was found to be carbon monoxide in enclosed spaces most often from equipment running on diesel fuel. This is a potentially deadly threat at home or on the job.
Here are just a few of the other hazardous substances often present on a site:
- Chemicals in construction materials, including arsenic preservatives, lead coatings, and solvents.
- Demolition construction may expose workers to older, harmful insulation materials such as asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and formaldehyde.
- Emissions from construction equipment. Gasoline and Diesel powered engines.
- Silica Dust in the air. Crystalline silica is found in concrete, masonry, sandstone, rock, paint, plaster, and shingles. Workers can breathe the particulate in and cause damage to their lungs.
These chemicals can cause immediate irritation for a construction worker, or the effects can build over years and decades. The diagnosis can be cancer, mesothelioma, asthma, silicosis, reproductive damage, Parkinson’s Disease, Hodgkin’s Disease, and many more health problems.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Chemical Exposure?
An exposure accident at a construction site can make for a complex case when determining who is liable for your accident and responsible for your hospital bills and recovery. There can be many parties at-fault in a claim for damages. Anyone involved in the construction project including sub-contractors, property owners, developers, and even the chemical manufacturer may share part of the blame.
It’s important to remember that Workers’ Compensation only goes so far. It can sometimes cover medical bills and lost wages but doesn’t consider the mental anguish that you and your family have been through. An experienced Spokane construction attorney can help navigate these questions with you.
Construction Site Injury Compensation
A construction site company and others involved in the project, like a supervisor, are legally responsible for providing a reasonably safe job site. They are required to educate workers on potential threats. Negligence in communicating and warning of these dangers is a common oversite in the work zone.
If owners and company managers are found at fault, state law allows for compensation for the injured person. A worker can be awarded financial compensation for many of the losses and hardships suffered during recovery:
- Medical Bills
- Rehab treatment/equipment
- Lost time from work (Including the expected future lost time)
- Permanent disability/disfigurement
- Pain and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (Being without the support of a spouse, partner, family member, etc.)
Contact a Spokane Construction Accident Lawyer
After a recent construction accident or a long-term diagnosis after years of exposure to harmful materials, it’s important to build a strong case against the owners and managers who were supposed to be protecting your health. A local construction accident lawyer can help you recover compensation to pay for your medical treatments now and years down the road if necessary.
Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. If our Personal Injury Lawyers represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.