Aldrich & Brunot - Portland Oregon Workers Compensation Attorneys

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Inhaling Toxic Fumes at Work

Breathing in and inhaling toxic fumes at work can be dangerous. Toxic fumes are often a consequence of manufacturing and industrial processes because of the use of dangerous chemicals. A worker’s lungs could get sick from breathing in harmful gas or fumes. Disorders of the neurological system and numerous types of cancer can develop from such prolonged exposure.

Toxic Fumes

Professions at risk of being exposed to hazardous substances

Injuries from exposure to hazardous substances affect workers in different types of industries. There is a higher chance of exposure-related injury when working in confined quarters without adequate ventilation. Some of them are:

  • Workers in the construction industry are particularly vulnerable to exposure to hazardous materials like lead and asbestos.
  • Workers in the oil and gas industry are particularly vulnerable to the presence of combustible and toxic chemicals used in fracking and harmful vapors and gases from liquids stored in temporary tanks, tanker trucks, and liquid waste.
  • Workers in the food and beverage industry may be at risk of developing bronchiolitis obliterans (also known as “popcorn lung”) if they are often exposed to particular flavoring agents.
  • Welders and metalworkers in machine shops and auto body shops are exposed to potentially dangerous metal vapors and gases. Welding fumes can be harmful to the lungs if breathed in for too long.
  • Chemicals in hair dyes, nail polishes, and hardeners represent a health risk to hairstylists and nail techs.
  • Workers in the medical, veterinary, and agricultural industries who might be in contact with pathogens
  • Workers in the maintenance industry who use cleaning products with ammonia, ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate, sodium hypochlorite, and/or trisodium phosphate may be at risk for developing respiratory problems.
  • Paints, solvents, oils, greases, exhausts, and other fumes are common hazardous substances present in the workplaces of welders, mechanics, and engineers.

You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you have been diagnosed with a respiratory ailment or other sickness caused by exposure to harmful fumes in the job. The benefits provided under workers’ compensation cover not just medical expenses but also a percentage of lost wages and other costs associated with certain work-related injuries and illnesses.

Types of work-related occupational inhalation injuries

In order to protect workers from inhaling unsafe levels of chemicals and poisons on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set maximum allowable exposure levels. Toxins, smoke, and other airborne hazards can all contribute to these ailments.

There are typically three types of occupational inhalation injuries:

  • Physical burns to the upper airway, caused by the caustic qualities of certain poisons or the heat created by flames, are the most common cause of upper airway injuries. In most cases, people experiencing these problems need to have oxygen administered to them very away to make up for the oxygen they’ve lost as a result of breathing in harmful substances.
  • Small particles in chemicals or smoke are the most common cause of lower airway injury. Mechanical ventilation or other respiratory support may be necessary for patients with certain types of injuries.
  • In most cases, metabolic asphyxiation caused by inhalation injuries is the most severe. This medical issue manifests itself when cigarette smoke or other substances prevent oxygen from binding to cells in the body. Metabolic asphyxiation, which occurs after prolonged exposure to harmful substances, is a leading cause of death.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by chemical exposure at work, hiring our experienced workers’ compensation and injury attorneys at Aldrich & Brunot, LLC can help you get the compensation you are owed by law.

It’s possible that workers who get sick from being exposed to harmful vapors at work in Oregon will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. If toxic fume exposure either directly caused an injury or disease, or severely exacerbated an existing ailment, then it is deemed to be work-related. Aldrich & Brunot, LLC is a reputable firm of workers’ compensation and injury attorneys who assist workers who have become ill due to exposure to toxic gases on the job in their pursuit of full compensation.