W. C. Striegel, Inc. may have violated safety standards by allowing its workers to be exposed to benzene and other hazardous substances. This is in connection with the company’s efforts to clean up natural gas liquids in a pipeline near Parachute, Colorado. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking $9,180 worth of fines against the Rangely company. Earlier, OSHA is also reportedly pursuing fines against Bargath, LLC and Badger Daylighting Corp. amounting to $7,854 and $10,200, respectively, for the same offense.
What are Hazardous Substances?
Hazardous substances are chemicals present in the workplace which are capable of causing harm. They can cause irreparable damage in the neurological aspect of the body, infertility, as well as other chronic illnesses and issues in workers. Currently, there are approximately 400 substances regulated by the OSHA.
When Can your Employer be Liable?
According to recent reports, over 200,000 workers suffer from chronic ailments yearly due to exposure to toxic substances. Worse, an additional 40,000 workers die annually because of long-term exposure in their places of work.
Employers are required by law to provide a safe workplace and this includes training their employees on the hazards of chemicals that they are using. Under the General Duties Clause of the OSHA Act, employers are required to furnish their employee an environment free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause serious physical harm or death to the employees. Employees should also comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under the law.
Under the Hazard Communication standard, employers should inform and train workers about hazardous chemicals and substances in the workplace. The training referred to should be done before the employees use them. It is important for workers to know how to store and use chemical substances to avoid the dangers associated with toxic substances. In addition, according to OSHA standards, it is the responsibility of employers to limit specific job assignments only to workers who are “qualified,” “competent,” and “certified.”
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits should you receive?
Workers that have suffered from occupational illnesses or those that have been exposed to hazardous substances can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Colorado workers who have experienced exposure or have been injured while performing their jobs may choose to file a workers’ compensation claim to be compensated for their injuries. The benefits may include payment for medical treatment and lost wages.
To prove the claim, workers should be able to demonstrate that toxic exposure happened at work. There are cases when it is very easy to prove this, such as when a single incident occurred like if there has been a major spill or if the employee’s duty involves handling hazardous substances. To be eligible for the claim, the employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance or must be legally required to carry one, the person claiming must be an employee of the company, and the injury or illness must be work-related.
A Colorado workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Kaplan Morrell attorneys have been helping workers in Colorado with their workers’ compensation claims. We will be able to help find who is responsible for the injury and get what is due for the injured party. Contact us at 303-780-7329 for your FREE CONSULTATION.