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Hazardous chemicals present risk in the Georgia workplace

Employers have a responsibility to assure their employees are not overexposed to hazardous material. Exposure to such material can be in the form of ingestion, contact or inhalation. Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers are aware of the risks and dangers of long term exposure to hazardous materials.

Recently, Aerospace/Defense Coating of Georgia Inc., a plating company in Macon was fined by Occupational Safety & Health Administration over $300,000 for exposing its employees to hazardous chemicals. Cited violations are for overexposure to chromium, respirator protection, failure to carry out periodic monitoring of chromium and personal protective equipment.
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“The employer had ample information alerting him to the hazards posed by hexavalent chromium, yet allowed his employees to continue to be exposed,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “OSHA will not tolerate this type of inaction.”

When handling hazardous material, appropriate gloves must be worn to avoid employees from ingesting hazardous material. Hand washing is essential after glove removal. Also drinking, eating or putting on make-up should never be allowed in places where there are hazardous chemicals.

A few things to consider when selecting the kind of gloves to wear:

-What are the type, concentration and temperature of the chemical to be handled?

-How long will you be in contact with the chemical? Will your hands be totally immersed?

-Do the gloves need to be tear resistant, abrasion or puncture resistant?

-What type of grip do you need to have? (oily, dry, wet)

Isolating employees from areas where hazardous chemicals are kept is the best method for avoiding accidental chemical contact. However, if personnel need to be around hazardous material then the appropriate level of personal protective equipment must be used. Items to protect your clothing, your face, eyes and hands must be conveniently available at all times.

Air quality monitoring protects employees from inhaling high concentrations of hazardous airborne chemicals. Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) can be obtained through Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for airborne chemicals. If OSHA doesn’t have an acceptable exposure standard check the manufacturer’s recommended limits.

For further reference a vast number of chemical exposure limits and quite a few substance specific standards can be found here .

The lawyers at the Law Offices of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., have the experience to help you gain all the benefits you are entitled under the Georgia workers’ compensation program. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 404-303-7770.