Chemical Exposure Dangers for Maritime Workers
Maritime workers have dangerous jobs. With all of the hazards present when working onboard a vessel, one worry that typically doesn’t get enough recognition is hazardous chemical exposure. The risk of harm from toxic chemicals can be drastically increased in the confined spaces and poorly ventilated conditions you encounter on a vessel. If improper handling of toxic chemicals has caused an injury, you may be eligible for compensation.
Your Employer and Vessel Owner Owe You a Duty
Your employer and the owner of the vessel where you work owe you a duty to provide you a reasonably safe place to work on a seaworthy vessel. One element that makes up this duty is an obligation to reasonably protect you from the hazards of working with toxic chemicals, paints and fumes. If your employer or the owner of the vessel have failed to provide you with a reasonably safe environment, particularly as relates to hazardous chemicals, you may be entitled to compensation under Federal Maritime Law.
Crewmen Need Hazardous Chemical Training
Among other things, crewmen on a vessel where hazardous chemicals are present require training to safely work with these chemicals. This includes training on the use of safety equipment, such as respirators and protective equipment, when working with toxic chemicals. Additionally, the recommendations on the material safety data sheet should be followed when working with hazardous chemicals. If your employer has failed to provide proper training or safety equipment, or if the material safety data sheets aren’t being followed, you may be eligible for compensation for your hazardous chemical exposure injury.
Methods of Toxic Chemical Exposure
Toxic chemicals typically enter or affect the human body in one of three ways:
- Inhalation: This is the most common danger for toxic exposure. When maritime workers inhale gasses or vapors that are present on the job, they may suffer respiratory problems or systemic problems where the chemicals cause damage to their organs.
- Being absorbed through the skin or eyes: Chemicals that are solid, liquid or gas can be absorbed through the skin or eyes. This typically happens when there’s a previous injury on the skin, but the eyes are always vulnerable.
- Ingestion: This is the least likely method of exposure to toxic chemicals, but ingestion can cause severe damage to the stomach, throat, esophagus and mouth.
If you’ve been injured in a toxic chemical exposure accident, consult an experienced maritime lawyer to find out whether you’re eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.