Identifying The Most Hazardous Substances In Construction


With more than 25,000 sites across America, nearly 6.5 million people are employed by the construction industry. While one of our largest industries, it also has one of our highest fatality rates. Construction workers encounter potential dangers every day. One of the leading concerns contractors and employees face is hazardous materials like dust, fumes, and gases.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, you need an experienced lawyer to maneuver through the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim. You should get to work contacting the Los Angeles injured-on-the-job attorneys at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach.

Potential threats

To prevent workplace injuries on a construction site, workers should understand the potential threats they face on construction sites. Even though manufacturers provide plenty of safety materials and explanations of the possible dangers, accidents still occur.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, many incidents involving dangerous materials go unreported or under-reported. Injuries and sickness from hazardous materials require time to heal to make a full recovery, and often employees do not get paid for this time off to heal, leading to devastating financial outcomes for workers.

On occasion, employees work through the discomfort, causing conditions to worsen. In some cases, inhaled toxins are not immediately apparent, frequently taking weeks or months for injuries to appear.

In any case concerning hazardous substances, employees should always review safety materials and datasheets, and wear respirators to prevent possible injuries.

The three most common threats

1. Dust: Breathing in dust and fumes accounts for more than 1,000 deaths in construction workers annually. Failure to wear masks or failure to suppress or extract dust can cause respiratory infections and breathing issues like asthma and cancer. The most common types of dust seen on construction sites include:

  • Silica Dust from concrete and sandstone
  • Wood Dust from cutting and sanding wood
  • Lower-toxicity dust from drywall, limestone, and marble

2. Solvents: Commonly found in cleaning supplies, paint, and glue; solvents are sometimes odorless and can be hazardous if inhaled or contacted with skin. They are also highly flammable. Workers who are around pure solvents like acetone and esters should take every precaution because long-term exposure can result in:

  • Blindness
  • Coordination issues
  • Cracked or bleeding skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Irritated eyes, nose, and throat
  • Nausea and stomach aches

3. Mold: A common concern when dealing with remodels or buildings that retain moisture. Prolonged exposure can cause breathing conditions, especially to those with preexisting conditions like asthma.

When should I contact a lawyer?

It is negligence if an employer does not properly train workers, or fails to ensure site safety, or does not identify risks of possible exposure. It is the employer’s job to protect his crew from dangers.

If you or a loved one suffers from a serious health condition caused by exposure to harmful substances on a construction site, we can help you work through this difficult time and get the compensation you need. Contact the Los Angeles workers comp attorneys at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 818-609-7005.

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