Safe working environments are paramount for employee safety across Tennessee, but there are some industries that are inherently dangerous. Whether working in construction, manufacturing or an industry dealing with hazardous chemicals, employees should still be protected by reasonable safety measures. When employers shirk their responsibility to enact adequate safety precautions, it often results in injured workers.
Many workers are unaware of their rights in the workplace, including that their employer is legally required to provide workers with information regarding dangerous toxins. A worker does not necessarily have to deal with dangerous chemicals during his or her work duties, as the mere presence of toxic chemicals at a facility can still be dangerous. Employees are often made aware of what chemicals are present through Material Safety Data Sheets, or MSDSs. These sheets not only tell workers what dangerous chemicals are present, but also the health effects, toxicity and procedures for daily handling and leaks.
However, simply being aware of which chemicals are present does not immediately create a safe working environment. Employees must provide adequate safety procedures and ensure that all workers are well-versed in the protocols. This might mean installing adequate ventilation, isolating the chemicals when possible and providing necessary training for the handling of all chemicals.
Every person in Tennessee has the right to a safe work environment. Simply being employed in a high-risk field does not mean that workers must simply accept that they will likely be harmed or injured. Unfortunately, there will always be careless and negligent employers who prioritize profits over people. When injured workers are sidelined from their jobs, workers' compensation benefits cover the related financial impact, including medical bills and lost wages.
Source: FindLaw, "Toxic Exposure in the Workplace", Accessed on Oct. 6, 2017