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Lead Poisoning in the Workplace

Lead Poisoning in the Workplace

Lead poisoning is a potentially life-threatening issue that continues to affect certain industries and workforce demographics. Although many people don’t think twice about lead, workers who are exposed due to particular working conditions can suffer from extreme health complications. It’s important for employees to become aware of the dangers of lead exposure and when to seek medical attention.

Lead is a metal commonly used in industries such as construction, transportation, mining, and manufacturing. According to MayoClinic, lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body over the course of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can create serious health problems.

Workers can be exposed to lead in the following ways:

1.Breathing lead in through dust or fumes. Lead in these forms is often odorless and cannot be seen in the air. Lead fumes can be produced when metals are heated or soldered. Lead dust is produced when metals are being cut or ground.

2.Ingesting or consuming lead. Lead dust may settle onto food, water, and clothes. Workers who don’t wash their hands before eating, touch their mouths, or eat in areas where lead is processed or stored can unknowingly ingest lead. Lead can leave a metallic taste in your mouth, but some people may not notice it.

3.Handling lead or products containing lead and having skin exposure. This can occur when lead dust settles on your clothes and hair or when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Health Problems & Symptoms from Lead Poisoning

Lead exposure can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Severe effects of lead exposure may cause damage to the nervous system and/or kidneys, anemia, birth defects, and issues with the body’s blood-forming mechanism. Death can also occur from extreme lead exposure.

Symptoms of lead poisoning may include:

-High blood pressure

-Joint and muscle pain

-Difficulties concentrating or with memory

-Headaches and fatigue

-Abdominal pain or loss of appetite

-Mood disorders

Lead poisoning can be hard to detect in some cases. Oftentimes these symptoms appear slowly or seem to be caused by other reasons. For some, symptoms will continue for years but their health will not get worse. Other workers may suddenly experience life-threatening illnesses from lead poisoning. If you believe you may be exhibiting symptoms of lead poisoning, consult with your healthcare provider. They can help refer you to the appropriate provider, who can then diagnose you through a blood lead level test and recommend the right treatment for you.

Employer Responsibilities

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) outlines a short summary of an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace. A few of these duties include:

-Examine workplace conditions to ensure they conform to safety and health standards

-Provide employees safety tools and equipment and properly maintain equipment

-Use posters, signs, and labels to warn employees of potential hazards

-Establish or update health and safety procedures and communicate them with employees

-Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand

-If hazardous chemicals are in the workplace, a written hazard communication program must be developed, and employees must be trained on precautions

In addition to these guidelines, the OSHA’s lead standards require employers to protect workers from inorganic lead exposure. These regulations include specifics on when an employer is required to begin blood lead testing for exposed workers and implement medical surveillance, hygiene facilities, etc.

Should your employer fail to provide you with proper training, protective gear, and abide by OSHA standards, they may be held liable for your illness due to lead exposure at work.

What to Do When You Have Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can lead to serious health issues and even death. After seeking medical care, it’s important to also consult with a personal injury lawyer. Lead poisoning treatment may leave you with medical bills, lost wages from time off, pain and suffering, and more.

You may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover payments for your medical bills, medication, and other reimbursements. Hiring an attorney from Fitzpatrick Santos Sousa Perugini P.C. can help you get the benefits you deserve.

Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and resolving their legal matters.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at (203) 583-8299 or schedule free consultation with us online.