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Chemical burns, toxic exposure risks in factories: How workers’ comp helps


Factories can be some of the most dangerous workplaces due to the many risks workers face daily. Whether it’s dangerous heavy equipment or hazardous environments, there’s no shortage of threats that can cause injuries or illnesses to workers.

Factory workers also often work with toxic chemicals that can harm them. The most dangerous substances are the ones that can cause chemical burns on skin contact.

Identifying chemical hazards

Chemical burns occur when skin or eyes come into contact with irritants. These irritants include:

  • Acids (such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid)
  • Alkalies (like sodium hydroxide, ammonia)
  • Solvents (such as benzene, toluene)
  • Pesticides (like organophosphates, carbamates)
  • Heavy Metals (including lead, mercury)

These substances can cause chemical burns, skin irritation and rashes. Inhalation of these substances can also irritate the respiratory tract or cause lung damage. Chronic exposure to some of these materials may also lead to neurological disorders (lead), kidney damage (benzene), or even death in high doses (toluene).

What to do when exposed to chemicals

Immediate action is vital when dealing with chemical burns. Flush the area with water and remove any contaminated clothing. Seek medical attention promptly; this not only ensures your recovery but also serves as a record of the injury, which is critical when filing a claim.

Filing your claim

You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under South Carolina law if you’ve suffered a chemical burn injury at work. The law notes that any injury arising out of and within the course of employment is eligible for compensation, including those caused by toxic substances.

Per state law, you have 90 days from the date of the injury incident to report it to your employer. The employer should then provide a form to file a workers’ compensation claim. It’s important to document everything, including medical records and any lost wages. Workers’ compensation covers for medical expenses, disability benefits, and compensation for lost wages.

Although workers’ compensation can cover injuries caused by chemicals, there’s a chance that your employer or insurer will deny your claim. Alternatively, your employer might stop paying you benefits for a chemical-induced injury that you believe needs ongoing medical treatment. You can appeal the denials with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission in both cases.

You might need guidance if you have to file an appeal for a denied claim or stopped benefit. A legal professional may be able to review your case and represent you in hearings to fight for your right to compensation.