The construction industry here in New York City is booming – it’s practically impossible to look around without seeing the evidence of one or more construction projects every few blocks. During industrial booms like this, it’s vital to stay aware of the dangers you or your loved ones may face as laborers and professionals on construction sites. One of the most hazardous and insidious dangers may not be the most obvious but can be one of the most dangerous: toxic exposure.
Common Toxic Substances at New York Job Sites
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides safety regulations and guidelines to prevent overexposure to toxic chemicals, such exposure remains a daily struggle for many workers. Some of the common toxic substances workers may suffer daily exposure to include:
- Mold: Mold is very common in older properties and any property that has suffered water damage or high levels of humidity. Plumbers are often the most at risk for exposure, but demolition crews must also be mindful of the risks.
- Solvents: Toxic solvents are common in paint thinner, finishes, oil-based paints, and more.
- Mineral fibers: Fibers such as glass, rockwool, ceramic, and other materials have often been used as insulation and can easily become airborne.
- Lead: While it no longer exists in modern paint, lead paint was very popular in decades past and this toxic metal can easily become airborne during demolition or renovation.
- Asbestos: This well-known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) still exists in countless buildings throughout NYC, and any demolition or renovation must be done carefully to avoid contact.
- Acids: Various forms of acid are used throughout job sites, and both the toxic fumes and direct skin exposure can be very damaging to the human body.
- Dust: Dust is the bane of construction sites, and it often contains countless toxic particles. Continuously breathing in construction dust can cause a host of medical problems.
How to Prevent Injury and Illness from Toxic Exposure
To maintain good health and prevent injury or illness due to toxic exposure, we recommend rigorously following safety guidelines and utilizing protective gear. Some of the best practices for avoiding toxic exposure include:
- Undergo proper safety training for the use and removal of toxic materials
- Wear dust masks when working in any dusty construction zone
- If you’re anywhere near solvents or other volatile toxic substance, wear skin protection and use a respirator to prevent the toxic substances from entering your lungs
- Use non-toxic building materials whenever possible
- Enforce that those around you follow safety regulations regarding lead, asbestos, and other toxic substances that may be present in older buildings
- Rotate shifts that require exposure to toxic substances to avoid prolonged exposure by any one person
Recovering Compensation After Exposure to Toxic Substances in NYC
Those who suffer from continuous exposure to toxic chemicals often suffer from severe medical injuries and illness, including:
- Lung damage
- Nose and throat irritation
- Organ damage
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or illness due to toxic exposure on a job site, you may be eligible for compensation through workers’ comp or a third-party lawsuit. Our attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP have over five decades of experience helping victims work through these challenging situations, and we may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation.