Workplace mishaps can happen in every imaginable way. Sometimes it's negligent behavior like leaving a tripping hazard in a walkway, and other times it's a simple mistake like stubbing and breaking a toe on a copy machine.
These are the obvious, physical injuries that people think of when they think of workers' compensation. The truth is that many work-related injuries and illnesses happen from exposure to the unseen. This includes chemical exposure, hazardous materials and more.
Out of sight, out of mind
Last fall, Maine became the first state to ban flame retardants in furniture. Proponents note that the retardants risk the health of firefighters responding to emergency situations. Minnesota hasn't followed suit on furniture manufacturing, but it's one of roughly a dozen states that regulate the use of flame retardants to some degree. There are many unseen dangers, and often we don't even think about them.
While flame retardants specifically affect firefighters, people who work in repair, installation, plumbing, construction and other industries are frequently exposed to airborne risks. Physical labor-focused jobs aren't the only ones risking exposure. Many engineers, architects, writers and lawyers work in offices that are in old buildings, converted from previous manufacturing uses. Building codes and the materials used in construction have changed as research discovers more health hazards.
Exposure, illness and injury
Exposure is a leading cause of injury for many workers. When work damages your health, you have the right to workers' compensation, whether that means exposure, illness or injury.
Physical injuries have a more obvious cause-effect relationship, but workers' compensation covers many different conditions. Filing a claim for exposure requires specific, detailed proof. It also has higher financial risk and significant potential consequences. An attorney can help you prove correlation and file your claim.