Dangers of Working with Bleach
July 1, 2019
Bleach is a common ingredient found in many cleaning products and is used to keep workplaces free of viruses and bacteria. Besides being a disinfectant, bleach can help whiten fabric and other items. Large facilities including hospitals, restaurants, schools, laundries, and public office buildings are frequently cleaned with bleach products. However, bleach creates a significant safety risk for workers who may be exposed.
Risk of Injury
Corrosive chemicals in bleach irritate and burn the skin and eyes if not handled correctly. While some exposure to bleach only causes minor distress or discomfort, for many workers the side effects of being exposed to bleach is much more serious. Burning sensations, skin rashes, bloodshot eyes, itchy eyes, temporarily blindness, and skin discoloration can result from handling bleach.
Another safety concern for workers handling bleach is the possibility of bleach mixing with other chemicals, such as ammonia, which can create dangerous gases. When workers inhale these toxic gases, they may develop serious respiratory problems and lung damage. Bleach inhalation is especially dangerous for individuals who have a compromised respiratory system, including those with asthma, allergies, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Some toxic gases become fatal when inhaled.
All workers have the right to safe working conditions. Some of the protections that should be taken when bleach is used at the workplace include:
- Using bleach only when a less dangerous product is unavailable
- Providing proper training to workers on handling bleach
- Properly storing bleach cleaning products
- Using bleach only in ways indicated on the manufacturer’s instructions or the Safety Data Sheet
- Never mixing bleach with other cleaning products
- Setting up emergency procedures in the case of an accident including an eye wash station
- Transferring bleach in properly labeled containers
- Creating well ventilated working spaces
- Providing proper protective gear to workers using bleach including face shields, goggles, and gloves
- Properly diluting bleach before use
Help for Injured Workers
Workers who suffer injuries on the job often have overwhelming medical expenses, including the costs for hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and x-rays. Many workers become temporarily or permanently disabled resulting in lost wages.
Compensation for these expenses is often available for individuals who become disabled as the result of a work-related injury, disease or condition. Under the rules of Workers’ Compensation, those who are hurt at work can receive payments to help cover these expenses, even if the worker had preexisting health problems. When working at a job aggravates or worsens a health condition, it is often still possible to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The first step in finding out if compensation is available for a workplace injury is to contact an experienced Philadelphia work injury lawyer today.
Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Injured Workers Obtain Compensation for Their Injuries
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, the experienced Philadelphia work injury lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are here to help. Our lawyers handle Workers’ Compensation matters throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey including those in the Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, Allentown, and Harrisburg areas. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Philadelphia work injury lawyer today, call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online.