Some occupations are knowingly hazardous. If you work in a chemical plant, your employer is legally required to notify you of the risks. However, every year, many employees who work in fields in which they are not expected to be exposed to dangerous toxins find themselves severely—and sometimes permanently—injured on the job.
There are many different ways to determine whether you are a suffering from toxic exposure. One of the most obvious signs is to begin feeling increasingly ill over a period of time and only when you are at work. It is important to mitigate your damages by notifying your employer, making an appointment with your doctor, or removing yourself from a toxic environment as soon as possible. Preventative steps could mean the difference between short-term injury and life-threatening damage.
Know the Symptoms
If you start working on a job and begin to experience some of these symptoms, you may be a victim of workplace toxins:
- Itchy or Sore Throat
- Tightening in Your Chest
- Chest Congestion
- Shortness of Breath
Notice that the list includes many symptoms that could be caused by something as simple as a cold. That is why it is important that you observe and make note of the time and location of the onset of these symptoms as well as their duration. If you suddenly feel lightheaded one day at work but the next day feel fine, you may just be coming down with a cold or virus.
On the other hand, if you notice that you began feeling lightheaded when you started working at your current job, that it only occurs when you are at work, and that it happens consistently for a couple of weeks to a month, you may be a victim of workplace toxins and should contact your doctor immediately.
Some Occupations Put You at a Higher Risk Than Others
High-risk industries, such as construction and manufacturing, have been known to cause long-term injuries that may go unnoticed for many years. For instance, older homes used asbestos in the construction before its toxicity was discovered. It was only after decades of working with asbestos that people began to develop lung diseases, and it took even longer to conclude that these diseases were caused by asbestos poisoning.
Occupations that you would not consider to put you at higher risk for toxicity can have devastating effects on your health. Hair and nail salons use products with chemicals that can damage your skin, eyes, and lungs. Restaurant workers who work in under-ventilated areas of the kitchen may be breathing toxic fumes every day, which could result in permanent damage.
There Is Hope
When you are the victim of workplace toxins, you do have recourses. However, proving that workplace toxins are responsible for your illness can be difficult, especially if you have an occupation that is not typically considered high risk for toxins. Therefore, you may be denied the rightful workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve.
If that happens, call a personal injury lawyer who specializes in accidental injury and death. In Atlanta, the W. Winston Briggs Law Firm has a long record of holding employers responsible for severe injuries and deaths due to the carelessness or recklessness of others.