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Are Construction Workers Regularly Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals on Job Sites?

July 15, 2022 | Workplace Safety

Construction sites are where cities come to life and bold plans are realized, but a lot of hard work goes into every single step of a building job. In the process, construction workers are at constant risk of injury and illness because of the heavy duty equipment and hazardous chemicals they use.

At Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC, we know how much construction workers put into their job and believe you deserve fair compensation after a workplace injury. Our firm is Virtual Ready, so instead of coming to our office to sign documents and attend meetings, you can meet with us over Zoom and handle documents via DocuSign. Call us at 818-888-8888 to schedule your free initial consultation now.

Hazardous Materials Used on Job Sites

Many of the solutions and products that construction workers regularly use are formulated with very harsh chemicals. Proper handling of these products is a crucial part of workplace safety, but construction companies don’t always provide proper training or protective gear. Some of the hazardous products you may come into contact with on a construction site include:

  • Insulation
  • Cleaning products
  • Solvents
  • Glues
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Gasoline
  • Tar
  • Paint

On a busy worksite, it’s especially difficult to avoid unsafe exposure to chemicals. When workers are switching back and forth quickly between tasks and products, it’s nearly impossible to remember the exact safety protocol for each solution.

Common Dangerous Chemicals Used in Construction

Each type of chemical comes with its own risks and potential side effects. Many of the chemicals regularly used on construction sites are considered hazardous substances by OSHA. Some of the chemicals you may find on a construction site include:

  • Asbestos, which is found in almost every building constructed from the early 1900s up until the 1980s, is a significant hazard. Professionals working on these buildings are told to assume that the insulation, ceilings, and flooring they work with have asbestos.
  • Silica, found naturally in rocks and sand, can lead to lung cancer and serious respiratory problems.
  • Diisocyanates are chemicals used to make foam, adhesives, sealants, and other types of construction products. Possible side effects include asthma, skin irritation, and irritation of the mucous membranes.
  • Cadmium is a natural metal that is used in the creation of rechargeable batteries, solar cells, plastic stabilizers, and more. Exposure to cadmium can negatively impact almost every major body system.
  • BPA is commonly utilized to create plastics and outer coatings. It’s linked to endocrine disorders and metabolic issues.
  • Lead is such a significant health risk that people who live in older homes are regular tested for lead exposure. In construction, lead is used in tank linings, roofing materials, and electoral conduits.
  • Chloroprene, primarily found in rubber products, is found on almost every construction site.
  • Mercury is a toxic substance that is found in certain types of light bulbs. Even short-term exposure can be dangerous for construction workers.
  • Alkylphenol, used in phenolic resins, can be found in rubber, paint, and adhesive products.

Related Illnesses and Injuries

Construction workers may experience a variety of health issues after exposure to hazardous chemicals, whether they are exposed once or over a long period of time. Respiratory issues are common, include COPD and asthma. Lead poisoning is a serious risk for those exposed to lead in a construction accident, as lead poisoning can harm the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and more. Cancer is also frequently reported in construction workers who have put decades of work into the industry. Lung, larynx, urinary tract, breast, prostate, and skin cancer are all linked to chemical exposure. One of the most widely known types of cancer in this field is mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Your Next Step

Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. While most injuries are handled through workers’ compensation, you may need to consider a personal injury claim if your injury is the result of a third party’s actions. For example, you may be able to sue a contractor who caused your injury through careless handling of chemicals.

Start Your Workplace Injury Claim With Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC

Contact out firm now at 818-888-8888 to schedule your FREE initial consultation. You can also fill out our contact form to have someone contact you to schedule your first meeting. We are Virtual Ready—enjoy the convenience of meeting over Zoom and handling paperwork with DocuSign. When meeting in person is necessary, our team can travel to your location to talk more about your claim.