Skibiel Law

Worker's death may have been caused by toxic exposure

Owners of Georgia companies involved in the manufacturing of polyurethane products have a responsibility to provide their workers with safe surroundings. In addition, workers should be informed about the hazards of toxic exposure and the course of action in the event of such exposure. Polyurethane products contain isocyanates, and exposure can cause lung problems, such as occupational asthma, and irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) recently cited a manufacturing company in another state after an inspection following the death of a worker. It was reported that the man was found in the restroom in an unresponsive condition and passed away later. The deceased worker's duties included working with isocyanates that were contained in the resin used in the manufacturing process. It was reported that the deceased man had been working for the company for 38 years.

OSHA's investigation determined that the managers of the company failed to provide workers with training on health and physical hazards posed by the chemicals to which they are exposed. It said that even if exposed to low levels of isocyanates on a daily basis, employees can experience adverse health consequences. Workers with other health risks are reportedly more vulnerable.

Georgia workers in industries where toxic exposure is possible may find comfort from knowing that workers' compensation may be an option if they are injured or develop an illness. In the event of a worker suffering a workplace injury, he or she may claim benefits to cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. The surviving family members of a worker who lost his or her life in such an accident may be eligible for death benefits that will cover funeral and burial expenses, along with financial aid for the spouse and any dependents.

Source:, "Elkhart Lake foundry cited by OSHA after worker found unresponsive in bathroom", Katy Delong, Nov. 6, 2014

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