Hazardous Product Attorney
Despite their name, many people work with or around hazardous materials every day. Some people use them to create other products, often in volatile conditions. Other people use them for more benign purposes, like cleaning or purifying water. Whatever the case, hazardous products are called this for a reason. If your jobsite includes these materials, you should be aware of what that entails.
You’re Entitled to Safe Working Conditions
Just because your job involves hazardous materials doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to safe working conditions. These conditions will depend by jobsite. Obviously, someone who uses hazardous materials to clean a lab is going to be clocking in somewhere much different than a person who works on an oil rig.
Still, no matter where your job takes you, there are specific laws covering the types of conditions you can demand. Furthermore, your employer has to make you aware of what these are so you’ll know if they violate the rules.
The agency in charge of this is known as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Again, your employer should tell you about them.
You Should Receive Ongoing Training
Part of providing you with safe working conditions is training you in how to perform your job in a manner that minimizes risk. Your employer should be giving you and your coworkers ongoing training in accordance with OSHA regulations.
Unless everyone at your jobsite understands how to best work with hazardous products, you could still be at risk. It doesn’t matter how careful you are if the person next to you hasn’t received the same training.
You Will Be Held Responsible for Your Actions
While the above deserves to carry weight, don’t forget that you have responsibilities too. For example, if you’re supposed to wear certain equipment to keep yourself safe, no court is going to look fondly on a lawsuit against your employer if something goes wrong and you get hurt. Also, you will most likely be expected to prove you’re complying with the training your employer offers.
What to Do When Something Goes Wrong
Despite all your best efforts, something could go wrong at work, leaving you the victim of an accident involving hazardous products. If that happens, your first priority needs to be medical attention, obviously. Then speak to a lawyer. It’s ok to report the accident, but be careful about implying any kind of responsibility on your part until you talk to an attorney—and your attorney, not one hired by the company.
Seek out a Specialist
At the very least, you want a lawyer who specializes in OSHA violations representing you. Just about any attorney can take on a personal injury case. This is a very specific kind, though. Ideally, you want legal representation that has dealt with the kind of accident you were involved in.
An injury due to hazardous product is just one reason you may be an attorney though. As OSHA training makes clear, your employer is expected to follow very stringent guidelines when it comes to the use and disposal of hazardous products. If you find out that your company is breaking these laws, you should be comfortable coming forward to report it.
Many people have done this in the past, though, and felt ignored or, worse, intimidated into silence. This is when you definitely want an attorney on your side. You may even want a lawyer to help guide you through the process of reporting these concerns to your employer first.
Hazardous products are central to many forms of employment. While working with or alongside them requires certain qualifications, it also means understanding your rights and how to seek help if necessary.