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Toxins in the workplace: How you can stay safe

If you're exposed to toxins in the workplace, you could suffer serious health problems. Every day, many people within the U.S. are exposed to hazardous chemicals when they're on the job. If you're exposed, you may be entitled to workers' compensation and medical care, so you can get the treatments you need and make up lost wages while you're unable to work. These toxins shouldn't be present without you knowing that you're in a position where you could potentially be exposed and harmed.

Under the law, you have a right to work in an environment that is safe and free of unnecessary hazards. If hazardous chemicals or toxins are present in your workplace, then your employer must tell you about these toxins and inform you about what to do if you are exposed. The information about the toxins comes on a data sheet called the Material Safety Data Sheet, and it's required to be provided in every workplace with these toxins.

Your employer may provide information on specific chemicals in your workplace as well as having an overall document explaining what to do if you're exposed to chemicals in the workplace. The MSDSs will include information for you, like the first aid procedures for exposure, what kind of protective equipment you need, and what to do if a leak or spill takes place.

If toxins are present in your workplace, it's important to find out if they're necessary. If they can be replaced by a nontoxic or less toxic substance, your employer may wish to do this. These items may also be isolated to prevent exposure.

Source: FindLaw, "Toxic Exposure in the Workplace," accessed April 08, 2016

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