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Protecting health care workers from chemical exposure

Health care workers in Pennsylvania face many different potential hazards while working. Most health care employers take many steps to protect their employees from bloodborne pathogens. Workers may also risk exposure from the many different types of chemicals that are used to clean, disinfect and sterilize the facilities in which they work as well.

It is important that health care employers conduct careful evaluations of their facilities and the chemicals they use in them. Many of the different types of cleaning products vary in their chemical makeup across brands. This means employers should become familiar not only with the risks posed by different types of chemicals but also those that are particular to different brands.

In addition to cleaning agents, workers may also face hazards due to working with instruments, such as blood pressure cuffs, that contain mercury. Other chemicals used to prepare certain medications may also pose hazards. Workers may be injured by inhaling different fumes or by contacting the chemical agents. After identifying all of the dangers, employers should then draft written safety plans. They should also hold training to make certain all employees who will work around or with the various chemicals understand the dangers presented by them.

When most people think about workers' compensation coverage, they think about workplace injury accidents. However, workers' compensation may also be available to workers who develop diseases or conditions because of exposure to chemicals while working at their jobs. Those who do may want to meet with an attorney who can help to gather the medical documentation they will need to show that their condition resulted from their work.

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