A disturbing number of Australian workers are suffering from conditions and injuries as a result of exposure to dangerous chemicals in the workplace. If you have suffered an injury or condition for something similar, there may be options available to protect your health, focus on your recovery and be compensated for any lost wages. 

Injuries from chemical exposure

There are a range of roles and professions where individual workers can be exposed to dangerous chemicals. The most common examples are on trade and mining sites, however, manufacturers and even office workers can be exposed to chemicals where there is not proper ventilation in the workplace. 

Workers who routinely work in environments where dangerous chemicals are prominent should be provided with extensive and quality personal protective equipment (PPE) by their employer or by the site manager. Additionally, all workers should be advised on the dangers presented by these types of chemicals and properly supervised to mitigate risk and ensure all employees are provided with the right equipment and are using the equipment properly.

What to do if you have suffered an injury or illness?

If you do happen to suffer a form of injury or illness as a result of exposure to chemicals in the workplace, it is very important to report the incident to your co-workers and superiors so that there is an incident report and record of what has happened.

Employers are required to hold workers compensation insurance to protect workers in these types of situations; in Queensland most workplaces insure themselves with WorkCover Queensland. Following the incident make a request for a WorkCover claim. Once a claim is accepted you will be entitled to a range of benefits regardless of the circumstances of your injury.

These WorkCover benefits may include the funding of treatment and rehabilitation, as well as paying weekly wages. WorkCover may offer a lump sum compensation payout, however legal advice should be sought before accepting any lump sum offers. 

However, if you have suffered an illness or injury due to exposure to chemicals in the workplace, it is highly likely that the employer has not properly protected their employees from a pertinent risk. This may be a lack of PPE, failing to warn the worker of the danger or not properly ventilating the worksite for examples. 

In cases like this, where the injury has been caused as a result of negligence by the employer, the injured worker is then able to pursue a common law claim for damages. 

A common law claim is a claim for damages that is separate to WorkCover. In pursuing common law the worker forfeits any compensation from WorkCover to instead bring a claim. Under this type of claim the injured worker is able to claim for a number of finances, for instance, past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost past earnings and lost future earnings. 

These damages can make common law claims the best option to assist workers and return them to their previous standing before their injury or illness. 

Therefore, if you have suffered an injury or illness from exposure to chemicals in the workplace, there are options available to assist you in your recovery both physically and financially. Contact a personal injury lawyer from Littles Lawyers now to arrange a free consultation and to learn about your rights. 

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