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Chemical exposure and workers' compensation in Wisconsin

Working in a manufacturing environment where chemicals are present creates a certain risk of a work accident and increases the potential need for workers' compensation. An employee that is wounded by chemical exposure and poor safety enforcement while on the job may have questions about filing for workers' compensation insurance benefits. A Wisconsin paper manufacturing facility recently received citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its purported inability to protect employees from sulfur dioxide chemical exposure.

The paper company was accused of violating eight regulations when the employees were exposed to the hazardous vapors. OSHA fines totaling $42,300 have been proposed. The sulfur dioxide is used by the paper manufacturing facility to treat the pulp used for making paper. When a company does not adhere to regulated safety precautions, it can risk serious injury or death to staff members.

The toxic vapors from this chemical can cause respiratory damage and other problems for those who inhale the fumes. Reports do not indicate how many workers may have been exposed to the toxic compound within the paper mill and if any of them required medical treatment for respiratory complications or burns. Treatment for chemical inhalation or skin burns can be extensive and require lengthy recovery times.

An employee that is not properly protected by the employer while on the job could suffer injury from negligence and a lack of training. Chemical injury has the potential to leave permanent deformation or long-term disability. A Wisconsin victim that has suffered an on-the-job injury may need assistance in ensuring that all available workers' compensation benefits are obtained in a timely fashion.

Source: nbc15.com, "OSHA cites Wisconsin paper mill", , May 28, 2014

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