Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a $700,000 fine against a company that exposed 14 staff members to excessive amounts of lead. Exposure to dangerous levels of lead can have devastating consequences and it is of vital importance that companies follow best practices for safety to avoid excess exposure. Safety News Alert reported on the OSHA fines and citations against the company that failed to protect the safety of its staff members.
Lead exposure is one of many top causes of workplace illness, and it can happen in many different professions. If you or someone you love is sick because you were exposed to lead or other toxins at work, you should be entitled to payment of your medical bills and to other benefits including disability income, if your illness affects your work. An Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer should be consulted for help in making a claim for benefits following exposure to excess lead levels.
Dangerous Levels of Lead Can Cause Atlanta Workplace Illnesses
According to Safety News Alert, the company that exposed its workers to dangerous levels of lead was a shipyard company. The 14 workers who had been exposed were tested and levels of lead were found that were in excess of 20 times the permissible exposure limit. This high level of lead exposure occurred because the company failed in many different obligations. The company:
- Failed to perform monitoring and testing to assess lead exposure levels for employees.
- Failed to implement a compliance program to keep lead below permissible exposure levels.
- Failed to put a respiratory protection program in place.
- Did not provide appropriate training to employees on the hazards that are associated with either lead or asbestos.
- Did not protect workers from excessive levels of exposure to both heavy metals and iron oxide that can occur as a result of cumulative exposure over time.
- Did not provide protection from falls for workers.
The company was fined and was cited for willful negligence, and OSHA fined the employer $70,000 for each one of the 14 employees whose health the company put at risk. It is unacceptable for a company to provide inadequate protection from lead exposure, because adults can suffer from lead poisoning with elevated lead levels in the body. This can make exposed workers very sick.
While lead poisoning is more common in kids, adults can experience profound consequences as well. Lead poisoning in adults can cause joint and muscle pain; elevated blood pressure; problems with concentrating; memory impairments; stomach pains; headaches; mood disorders; abnormal sperm or reduced sperm count; and miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth in pregnant women.
Any worker who is exposed to excessive levels of lead and who gets sick as a result of that exposure should consult with an experienced attorney to find out what options are available to pursue a claim for workplace illness benefits.
The Atlanta workplace accident lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC can represent employees or their families after a workplace injury or death. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.