Construction workers are subject to all kinds of hazards on the job, not the least of which is toxic substance exposure. The toxic substance need not be exotic and it is not limited to anyone area; in the US 18% of all construction workers suffer to some degree to toxic substance exposure. Although exposure is usually short-term and intermittent because construction workers usually move from job site to job site, it is likely to recur frequently. This is because many of the toxic substances encountered onsite are endemic in a particular construction task such as bricklaying, welding and demolition.
The health consequences are varied, depending on the toxic substance and the amount of exposure. Toxic substance exposure is usually through inhalation of airborne fumes, mists, gases, dusts and vapors, but it can also be through skin contact or through ingestion. Some of the toxic substances one is likely to encounter in a construction site are glues, dry cement, organic solvents and heavy metals in soldering iron. According to the website of New York-based law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, many construction workers are not even aware that they have been exposed to toxic substances until much later when the symptoms appear. In this sort of situation, discussing your case with a construction accident attorney in your area may be a wise legal decision.
The most linked health issues to the construction industry due to toxic substance exposure include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Lead poisoning
- Lung cancer
- Neurologic disorders
The Code of Federal Regulations tackles the problem of toxic substance exposure under 29 CFR 1926.55 and 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z, but no amount of legislation can prevent construction workers from getting exposed to harmful substances at work if the employer or construction site manager chooses to ignore the regulations. As a result, many construction workers end up with lifelong debilitating health problems and financial difficulties through no fault of their own.
If you or someone close to you incurred health problems due to toxic substance exposure while at a construction site, you could be eligible for a personal injury suit. Consult with a lawyer with a good track record in handling toxic substance exposure cases in the area.