Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Skin Damage InjuriesFebruary 16, 2017
For workers tasked with the daily handling of dangerous chemicals the risks cannot be understated – and no single body part is affected more often than the skin, Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers say. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tens of thousands of skin diseases are reported to the agency each year at a rate of 3.4 injuries for every 10,000 workers. By contrast respiratory illnesses are reported at a rate of 1.9 injured for every 10,000 workers.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) singles out ammonia, hydrogen chloride, and sodium hydroxide as chemicals that pose the greatest threat of a primary irritation in the form of chemical burns and contact dermatitis. However, not all skin injuries will be as immediate and obvious. Some chemical irritants – such as ethylene oxide, epichlorohydrin, hydroxylamine and certain chemical mustard agents – take time to develop into a full-blown injury, for they must first decompose within the aqueous portions of the skin. Similarly, OSHA warns that other chemicals can produce an allergic contact dermatitis only upon subsequent exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) light. To that end, workers who handle poly-nuclear aromatic compounds are at an increased risk of suffering a photo-activated, delayed skin injury.
Compensation for Skin Cancer
Skin cancer remains the most deadly and slow-to-form skin injury of all. Workers who spend most of their workday outdoors – such as those in construction – are more likely to develop the disease than others, but not every employee who contracts skin cancer will be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Those who fail to take reasonable steps to protect their skin from damaging UV rays will have difficulty making a case that their skin cancer was work-related. Workers diagnosed with skin cancer can often seek short or long-term disability benefits while they receive treatment for their disease, however.
In an effort to reduce the incidence of work-related skin injuries, workers who handle ammonia, hydrogen chloride, or sodium hydroxide on a regular basis must always be properly equipped with protective gear. Failure by an employer to provide at-risk employees – including those who must work with coke ovens and petroleum-based tars – with gloves, goggles, and a protective bib or smock can be punishable with fines and penalties for violating OSHA regulations. Specific industry standards for skin protection exist for those working in shipyards, construction, marine terminals, and various other industries. If a worker suffers a chemical burn, dermatitis, or other skin injury, they may seek Workers’ Compensation benefits when their injury prevents them from resuming normal job duties.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Occupational Illness in Maryland
Skin injuries suffered on the job should never be ignored or minimized. If you or a loved one has recently suffered a chemical burn, contact dermatitis, or other skin disorder, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Call us at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online today to begin your free consultation at our offices in Baltimore, where we proudly serve clients throughout Maryland.