Workers’ compensation and exposure to hazardous material

When we talk about workers’ compensation, we often speak about injuries that happen suddenly while a person is at work. Sometimes, we talk about injuries that happen over a long period, such as repetitive motion injuries. It’s also important to remember that workers’ compensation can help workers who are sickened by exposure to toxic materials at work.

Fracking wastewater

A recent news report looked at workers who treat the wastewater from Pennsylvania’s fracking industry and found that some of them are routinely exposed to toxic chemicals and radioactive material.

Fracking is a type of drilling for oil and gas that involves pumping water into deep holes in the earth. The process often results in huge amounts of wastewater that is contaminated with radioactivity and toxic chemicals.

Certain companies have waste treatment facilities that are intended to remove the hazardous material from the water before releasing it into local waterways. Critics say these facilities are not doing what they’re supposed to do. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that one such facility removed only 9% of the radium in the wastewater it treated before pouring it into local rivers.

In addition to the environmental dangers involved, the industry can be hazardous for the workers involved. One worker told reporters that workers were routinely exposed to toxic material when cleaning up spills.

Time limits

There are tight time limits involved when injured workers are filing for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace accident. Generally, workers should inform their employers as soon as possible after being injured. If they wait longer than 30 days, they may be barred from collecting benefits.

These time limits get more complicated in cases involving exposure to toxic materials. Exposure to radiation or substances such as asbestos can cause serious and even fatal diseases, but the symptoms of these diseases may not manifest for many years.

Workers who have been exposed to toxic material can talk to experienced professionals about their options.