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What to do about toxic exposure in the workplace

Many workers in the United States have to be present in environments that may be at risk for toxins and hazardous chemicals. These hazards can present themselves almost everywhere, however they are most likely to occur at nuclear plants, factories, or construction sites. If you as a worker have a cause for concern about toxins being present or have a belief that the dangers are being improperly managed, you have the right and the responsibility to take action.

Assessing the situation

If you find that there are toxins present in your workplace, you should firstly bring this up with your employer. They have the legal duty to provide you with information about these toxins and ensure that it is controlled to provide a safe environment for all employees.

Working in an environment with toxins

You can still safely work in an environment where toxins are present, however both you and your employer must exercise caution and follow all safety procedures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend certain activities to make the working environment as safe as possible. These include substituting toxic materials whenever possible, isolating hazards physically through clothing and other equipment, and administration that prevents unnecessary exposure to toxins.

Keeping aware

You should always stay aware in your workplace and look out for hazard signs as well as be vigilant toward any potential toxins or other dangers. You should also make sure that your employer is taking safety seriously. Inform yourself of their responsibility to create and maintain a safe working environment and remember your right to file a complaint if they fall short on their duties.

Source: Findlaw, "Toxic Exposure in the Workplace," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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