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Do you know what you’re breathing in at work?
People often think of workplace injuries as things that happen suddenly and all at once. For instance, you slip on the top of a ladder, fall to the concrete floor below and strike your head on the surface, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It’s very clear that you’ve been injured and you know exactly why it happened.
These accidents do happen all the time, and you could certainly suffer catastrophic injuries this way. But it’s also important to remember that smaller factors about your workplace could be having a cumulative effect. For example, do you know what’s in the air that you’re breathing in tens of thousands of times every single day, for eight hours a day and 40 hours a week?
One example of a potential hazard you could be facing is if there is asbestos in the workplace. These are microscopic particles, so you’re not going to see them, you can’t taste them and you’re not going to know that you’re inhaling them. They’re also probably not going to have a negative impact on your health right away. It’s a delayed process where you typically develop mesothelioma (a terminal cancer) or asbestos-related diseases decades later.
If you work in certain industries, you could also be exposed to harmful chemicals. This can become even more dangerous if they get mixed together. A common example is that mixing bleach and ammonia, two cleaning components, will make a solution that can cause severe irritation and even be fatal if you’re exposed to it. But are there also other chemicals in the air that you’re slowly breathing in over time?
These are just two examples of hazards in the air, but you can see how important it is to know about all of your legal options if you have serious complications.