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Workplace injuries can lead to occupational illness in time

The presence of invisible toxic vapors in certain industrial premises remains a concern of workers in certain industries. Workers in industries in Oklahoma where dangerous chemicals may cause severe workplace injuries or illness rely heavily on their employers to monitor the air quality and provide protective clothing. Company owners who fail to abide by the strict safety regulations as prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may cause workers to develop occupational illnesses that will affect the remainder of their lives, and could even lead to death.

Pride Plating Inc. was recently inspected by OSHA and received 38 citations for violating safety regulations at their plant in Oklahoma City. Nine of the citations were for repeat offenses that were related to workers' exposure to hexavalent chromium. People who inhale, absorb or ingest chromium may develop cancer-related illnesses. According to the OSHA report, the company did not supply the workers with protective equipment, and the dangerous areas where the spraying of chromium took place were not demarcated. In addition, the area where workers had their lunch, along with the smoking area were exposed to the vapors, allowing absorption and ingestion of the chromium.

Workplace illnesses differ from workplace accidents in so far as injuries suffered in workplace accidents are immediately apparent and treatment can happen promptly. However, workplace illnesses often develop over time, and manifestation may only become evident years after exposure. In addition to exposure to carcinogens, repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are also classified as workplace illnesses.

Oklahoma workers who are diagnosed with cancer and suspect that their occupation caused their condition may claim benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. Such a claim may be significantly more complicated than a claim for other more common workplace injuries, as the worker may have left the employ of the company years before diagnosis. Workers may benefit from the experience of a professional who works with such claims regularly, as such guidance and assistance may help void time-consuming rejections and ensure full and fair compensation.

Source: ohsonline.com, "Pride Plating Inc. Cited for Exposing Workers to a Cancer-Causing Health Hazard", , Sept. 6, 2014

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