Employees who work with dangerous chemicals and heavy equipment in chemical plants are exposed to various workplace hazards. Chemical plant accidents can result in serious injury to employees.
- OSHA Regulations
- Local Safety Issues
- Staying Safe
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Chicago Area Chemical Plant Worker Wages
- Workers’ Compensation Benefits
- Our Chicago Law Firm Can Help You with Your Compensation Case
- Contact A Chicago, IL Chemical Plant Workers’ Compensation & Injury Law Firm
Were you injured while working at a chemical plant? If so, you are likely entitled to receive monetary recovery and workers’ comp benefits.
Chemical technicians and plant workers help develop, test, manufacture, and store gaseous, liquid, and solid materials.
Unfortunately, working with and around toxic chemical substances pose a huge array of serious health hazards through exposure, including carcinogenicity, sensitization, and irritation. Also, significant physical risks involve many chemicals’ explosive, corrosive, and inflammable nature.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulates rules, policies, and protocols for handling chemicals in the workplace. Their regulatory measures include identifying certain hazards and how employers must create a safe environment.
Their health communication standard requires that:
“Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers and train [the workers] to handle the chemicals appropriately. The training for employees must also include information on the hazards of the chemicals in their work area and the measures to be used to protect themselves.”
Even with regulations in place, significant problems still occur in a work environment when employees are exposed to dangerous chemicals.
Common injuries involved in a chemical plant accident could include:
- Chemical burns
- Crushing injuries
- Broken bones
- Major joint damage
- Inhalation problems causing shallow breathing
- Illness caused by chemical exposure
- Other serious injuries
If you or a family member were injured while working at a chemical plant, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation claim benefits.
Contact the workers comp attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for more information and a free review of your legal rights and options.
Local Safety Issues
OSHA safety standards are built on the premise that work practice controls concerning safety must be the primary means for reducing and eliminating every worker’s exposure to dangerous conditions in the workplace.
The safety measures include minimizing the potential risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and materials. There have been significant problems with chemical and manufacturing plants in the Chicago metropolitan area in recent years.
Some dangerous conditions cited by OSHA in our local community in recent years include:
OSHA News Release Reveals Potential Risk of Chemical Plant Injury at Vandalia Illinois Manufacturing Plant
In May 2015, OSHA posted a news release notifying the public of serious chemical and fire hazard concerns at a metal tubing manufacturing plant in Vandalia, Illinois.
The owners and management of a metal tube manufacturing plant placed employees at significant risk to their health and well-being by ignoring “standard safety rules for machines and storing flammable materials in open containers near propane heaters where they might ignite.” OSHA stated that the workers were “at risk of lacerations, amputations and potential explosion and fire.
OSHA initiated a complaint investigation. During a state review, it was revealed that investigators “found one repeated, twenty-five serious and one other than serious health and safety violations at the metal fabrication facility.” OSHA proposed a $109,900 penalty against those who placed their employees at risk.
Cicero, Illinois Metal Plating Company Faces $157,000 in Fines for Eighteen Violations Over Toxic Metal, Noise, and Other Hazards
In December 2015, workers in a Cicero metal plating company were exposed to metal, live electrical hazards, and machinery risks while “electroplating machine parts.”
Investigators determined that the elevator risks resulted from an employer failing to follow Federal health and safety requirements. “Exposure to metals – such as cadmium used in the plant – can harm the heart, nervous and digestive systems.”
On December 10, 2015, OSHA cited the facility and proposed a penalty totaling $157,080 for “one willful, eight repeated, eight serious and one other than serious health and safety violations.”
The citation noted specific violations, including:
- A “failure to implement a continuing, effective hearing conservation program.
- Lack of personal protective equipment for metal and other dangerous chemical exposure.
- Electrical safety hazards.
- Adequate worker training on hazardous chemicals used in the facility.
- Lack of medical examination to monitor employee exposure to chromic acid and cadmium.
- Injured workers were exposed to operating mechanical and electrical parts because the equipment lacked guards.
Approximately 32 million workers employed in the United States are routinely exposed to hazardous chemicals while on the job. Statistics released by OSHA reveal nearly 650 varying chemicals in approximately 3 million work environments nationwide.
In 2012, there were approximately 3 million nonfatal chemical-associated workplace injuries or illnesses involving hazardous materials in America. The dangers of these toxic materials present serious concerns for workers and their employers who are responsible for their safety.
Common problems leading to a chemical plant accident or illness include:
- Exposure to chemicals in the workplace has a direct correlation to the development of cancer in the stomach, heart, skin, kidneys, lungs, nerves, brain, and reproductive organs.
- Exposure to chemicals is listed second on the list of life-threatening occupational diseases and chemical burns.
- Chemical agents are considered the cause of most skin diseases and disorders related to occupations.
- Nearly 1.5 million job-related chemical exposure cases resulted in a restriction of duties, a job transfer, or a significant number of days away from work.
According to the EPA in the United States, humans are exposed to dangerous toxin chemicals in their environment every day who are not near chemicals plants. This danger includes exposure to the top eight most harmful common substances:
- PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls)
- Toxic/hazardous air pollutants
Employers and workers are expected to follow Chemical Safety Board (CSB) general safety recommendations to avoid chemical plant accidents.
Government agencies can only provide a certain level of safety from harmful toxins and dangerous work environments. It is everyone’s responsibility, from the employer to the worker, to maintain a safe workplace. Certain steps can be taken that include,
Hazardous chemical manufacturing plants must label all dangerous products and provide safety data sheets for every worker exposed to the toxins while providing training on how to handle the chemical safely.
Taking these initiatives can prevent work-related injuries and illnesses directly associated with exposure to harmful chemicals. Employers providing training must follow the OSHA standard 1910.1200 listed in part below:
- Employers shall maintain any safety data sheets that are received with incoming shipments of hazardous chemicals and ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to laboratory employees when they are in their work areas;
- Chemical manufacturers or importers to classify the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import, and all employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, [using a] hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and information and training. Also, this section requires distributors to transmit the required information to employers.
- Employers operating chemical plants shall ensure that employees are provided with information and training to the extent necessary to protect them in the event of a spill or leak of a dangerous chemical from a sealed container.
- Agricultural or vegetable seed treated with pesticides and labeled [by] the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551 et seq.), and the labeling regulations issued under that Act by the Department of Agriculture.
Every chemical plant worker in harm’s way should be provided personal protective equipment to safeguard against hazardous conditions while on the job. Personal protective equipment (PPE) could include:
- Wearing face or eye protection that might include face shields, goggles, and safety glasses to avoid a chemical burn requiring medical treatment.
- Hand protection might include disposable gloves that are chemical resistant.
- Skin protection, including chemical-resistant clothing (suits/aprons), boots, and shoes.
- Respiratory protection includes hoods and masks used with respirators to avoid fatal injuries.
Personal Protective Equipment
Every worker should have personal protective equipment and be provided proper instructions on the effective way to use their safety gear and how to maintain the equipment in good operating condition. This requires learning how to clean the devices and store the equipment to prevent exposure or contamination.
Additional training on how to handle the chemicals is important to ensure employee safety and avoid chemical plant accidents. This training includes learning how to read product labels and understand how certain interactions occur when different chemicals are mixed.
Some of the most common hazards that harm chemical plant employees working include:
- Explosive or flammable chemicals
- Workplace hazards occur when chemicals are stored or mixed with incompatible substances;
- The extremely hazardous dangers of chemical contact and chemical ingestion
- The harmful outcome of exposure to chemical emissions and fumes
Every workplace should have proper ventilation to keep the area free of the buildup of chemical fumes or emissions. Safety measures include ensuring every drum lid containing chemicals, materials, toxins, or dyes is covered and secured completely.
Additional measures include maintaining a clean workspace, never allowing drink or food in the work areas, thorough cleaning, and hosing down every washable floor in the workplace.
Chicago Area Chemical Plant Worker Wages
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 statistics concerning the employment statistics of the previous year, 1210 Chemical Plant Workers were working in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas.
On average, workers in chemical plants in northeastern Illinois earn $48,650 every year (mean wage), which is $23.39 per hour. The wage is significantly higher than the national average. See Chart
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
All chemical plants manufacturing and selling products in the chemical industry must ensure every worker is covered by workers’ compensation insurance that covers chemical plant injuries, exposure, and workplace illness-related injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available even if the worker caused the chemical plant accident through negligence, inadequate training, or human error.
Insurance also pays benefits for any defective safety equipment, manufacturing defects, broken heavy equipment, or chemical spill caused by neglect, intentional act, or accident.
These benefits could include:
- Hospitalization and medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Total or partial disability
- Wrongful death benefits
However, resolving a workers’ compensation claim can be complex. The insurer may delay or deny the claim for numerous reasons, including suspecting that the worker is alleged to have chemical plant injuries they do not have.
Our Chicago Law Firm Can Help You with Your Compensation Case
Our lawyers help injured workers in factories and chemical plants recover the compensation they are entitled to receive under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and through civil lawsuits. Call our law firm now for a free consultation to discuss the claims process and filing a workers’ comp claim.
If you retain our chemical plant injury law firm, our team of legal experts can ensure your family receives adequate compensation to recover financially from your damages fully.
In addition to assisting you with your workers’ comp benefits, our law firm will review your workers’ comp case to determine if other parties are also at fault and required to pay you additional funds. Call for a free consultation.
Our seasoned injury lawyers could assist your family in successfully resolving your chemical plant injury claim against the nursing staff and administration.
Our law firm working on your behalf can handle every aspect of the case to ensure the appropriate documentation is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Contact A Chicago, IL Chemical Plant Workers’ Compensation & Injury Law Firm
No upfront payments are necessary because our personal injury law firm accepts every wrongful death lawsuit and injury claim for compensation through contingency fee agreements.
Our law firm pays the legal fees only after our attorneys have successfully resolved your compensation case by negotiating an out-of-court settlement on your behalf or by winning your case at trial.
Any confidential or sensitive information you share with our Chicago, Illinois law firm concerning your personal injury lawsuit remains through an attorney-client relationship. Call for a free consultation.