The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has released an online tool to help workers who may have been exposed to cadmium as a result of their employment. According to the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, approximately 300,000 workers are exposed to cadmium each year throughout the United States.
Cadmium is a soft, silver white metal that is commonly used in industries such as ceramics, plastics, metal machining, painting and welding. Cadmium is also frequently used in construction-related industries; however, the standard for construction industry workers is different than for workers in other industries. As a result, the online tool is not intended to be used by those who work in the construction industry.
Cadmium exposure can result in serious, long-term health problems. Short-term exposure can cause fever, chills, weakness, headache, muscle pain, and sweating. Cadmium poisoning from long-term exposure can cause kidney damage as well as cancer of the prostrate and lung. Chronic exposure may also lead to pulmonary emphysema and bone disease.
Although OSHA’s online tool is primarily intended to be used by medical professionals, it can also be used by workers to help determine if they have been exposed to cadmium in the workplace and is so, whether the exposure could be the cause of any cadmium poisoning symptoms they are experiencing.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation and Toxic Work Environments
The latest OSHA release demonstrates that not all work-related injuries are the result of accidents. In fact, many compensable injuries and illnesses are the result of long-term exposure to a toxic work environment. Often, workers are not even aware that they are being exposed to toxic chemicals or hazardous materials at their workplace. Over time, exposure to a toxic work environment can lead to serious, even fatal, illness or disease.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation system provides benefits to workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their employment. This can include an illness that results from exposure to a toxic substance such as cadmium, asbestos, paint, solvents or numerous other workplace hazards. Because these substances often build up in a worker’s system over time, a worker may not exhibit symptoms until months, even years, after the initial exposure. This can make it more difficult to get a workers’ compensation claim approved; however, it does not mean that your claim is not valid.
If you are concerned that exposure to a toxic work environment has made you sick, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the laws of the State of Massachusetts. An experienced Massachusetts workplace illness and injury attorney can review the unique facts and circumstances of your case and determine whether you have a valid claim.