In a recent unanimous decision, New Jersey's Supreme Court determined that companies can be held responsible when family members are harmed by toxins that employers unknowingly bring home. Wherein previously employers were only liable when a worker's spouse was harmed, the new ruling expands that liability to anyone living in the home. Vineland Workers' Compensation lawyers report that the decision compels companies to limit the possibility of employees bringing dangerous chemicals home on their body, clothes, and tools.
In such cases, the court will determine liability based upon several factors. The court will establish the relationship between the worker and the effected family member or housemate and assess their risk of exposure. The court will decide whether or not the employer knew the risk of exposure at home and if adequate preventative measures were taken to prevent it.
Which Toxins Pose a Threat?
Toxins like lead, mercury, arsenic, asbestos, and pesticides adhere to farm and factory workers' body and belongings and can have a serious impact on the health of family members. Second-hand exposure has led to serious and even fatal poisonings of people that share a living space with the exposed worker.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends preventing family exposure over decontamination. By taking the following steps in the workplace, employees significantly reduce the chance of family exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Employees should either launder or change clothing before leaving work.
- Employees can shower before heading home. Even when workers change clothes, toxins can linger on the body.
- Keep work clothes in a separate location from other belongings, preferably outside the home.
- Leave tools and other work supplies at the job.
- Limit family visits to the workplace.
Decontamination - or attempting to clean up the chemicals at home - can actually cause more harm than good. Toxics embedded in fabrics on furniture, bedding, and carpets are difficult to remove. Trying to clean them actually moves them around the home, leading to greater risk of exposure.
Vineland Workers' Compensation Lawyers at Rone & Kowalski, LLC Protect Workers and Their Families
If your health has been affected by exposure to hazardous materials, you may be entitled to compensation. Companies are obligated to do everything in their power to keep employees and their families safe from exposure to toxins like pesticides. Benefits like Workers' Compensation exist to help those injured from exposure to chemicals in the workplace.
Vineland Workers' Compensation lawyers at Rone & Kowalski will fight to ensure you receive all entitled benefits. Call our Milmay offices at 609-476-4044 to discuss your Workers' Compensation case in New Jersey. We work with clients in Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville, Buena Vista, Maurice River Township, Upper Deerfield Township, Greenwich Township, Stow Creek Township, and throughout Cumberland County.