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Does workers’ compensation cover toxic substance exposure?

From cleaning products to pesticides, toxic chemicals appear in our daily lives frequently. However, in certain industries, exposure is higher and more dangerous for workers.

Does workers’ compensation cover employees harmed by toxic chemicals in the workplace, such as trichloroethylene or TCE?

About the chemical substance

Trichloroethylene is a toxic degreasing agent used for cleaning purposes. For example, Zep, a company based in Atlanta, GA, has sold TCE in spray cans for use in cleaning printing and other office equipment, power tools and electric motors. In the prestigious Brookhaven National Laboratory, workers used TCE to clean and maintain supercomputers. Products containing chemicals like this should contain the appropriate warnings. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers where TCE and similar toxic chemicals are in use to educate employees about the risks of working with and around these substances.

Workers’ compensation coverage

Like other claims involving harm caused by workplace chemical substances, a workers’ compensation insurer will normally accept a claim for illness or injury based on TCE exposure. Depending on the circumstances, the worker might receive payment on various levels, such as a lump sum amount plus reimbursement for lost wages paid annually.

Assistance in filing

The importance of receiving full and fair workers’ compensation benefits underscores the value of having an advocate accustomed to working with insurers to assist with filing a claim and to follow up in the event of claim denial. Anyone suffering a work-related injury or illness in Georgia has a right to expect the maximum benefits available under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.