July 24, 2019
Employees who suffer chemical burn injuries at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Depending on the severity of the burn and the circumstances of the accident, injured workers may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other types of benefits.
What are Chemical Burns?
Chemical burns occur when a worker is exposed to hazardous substances, such as acids or bases. Depending on the pH levels of the chemicals and the workers’ level of exposure, chemical burns can range from minor to severe. These injuries can occur in a variety of industries, including construction and manufacturing. Chemical burns often affect tissues underneath the skin and may therefore not be immediately apparent, however some noticeable symptoms of chemical burns include:
- Discolored Skin
- Shortness of breath
OSHA Hazard Communication Standard
To ensure chemical safety in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set forth the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and the construction industry. The HCS requires all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace to ensure that the chemicals are classified and labeled. In addition to identifying the potential hazards of chemicals and communicating that information to employees, employers must also comply with the specific provisions pertaining to their industry, such as:
- Developing and implementing a written hazard communication program
- Maintaining safety data sheets and ensuring their accessibility to laboratory employees
- Providing employees with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Common Causes of Work-Related Chemical Burns
Strong acids, alkaloids, and corrosive materials in the workplace all pose hazards to workers, who should be trained on how to safely handle such dangerous chemicals. Work-related chemical burns often occur because employees fail to adhere to the OSHA HCS. Some of the most common chemicals associated with injury in the workplace include:
- Hydrofluoric acid
- Muriatic or hydrochloric acid
- Nitric acid
- Phosphoric acid
- Sodium and calcium hypochlorite
- Sodium hydroxide
- Sulfuric acid
Preventing Burns in the Workplace
According to OSHA, many workplace chemical burn injuries can be prevented by properly labeling the chemicals and training workers on how to handle them. Employers who fail to comply with OSHA safety guidelines pertaining to hazard communication may be responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are injured as a result.
In Pennsylvania, workers may be entitled to payment for doctors’ visits, physical therapy, medications, surgeries, lost wages, and other benefits to compensate for their chemical burn injuries. If a party other than the employer is at fault for the accident, such as the manufacturer of a certain piece of PPE, that individual may be held liable in a third-party suit, which can provide injured workers with additional damages such as pain and suffering.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Chemical Burn Injuries
If you suffered a chemical burn injury at work, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible. Our skilled attorneys have more than 40 years of experience fighting for workers throughout the state. We can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and fight to obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.