February 16, 2024

Hazardous Materials in NY Construction Sites

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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Construction is one of the deadliest industries. Although many workplace accidents can have immediate consequences, other hazards may take longer to notice, report, or mitigate. Toxic or hazardous chemicals and materials can be a cause for alarm on New York City job sites. They can have long-lasting impacts on anyone who encounters them.

Learn more about hazardous materials found in New York construction sites, and what you can do after exposure.

The Common Harmful Materials on NYC Construction Sites

Construction work often involves chemicals or materials. Many people outside the industry may not realize just how dangerous some of these chemicals can be. Some of the most common hazardous materials found at construction sites include:

  • Lead: Excess amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning. It’s commonly found in paint, plumbing fixtures, or contaminated soil. It’s often ingested by inhaling lead-contaminated dust. Once inside the body, it gets distributed to various organs like the brain, kidney, or liver. Lead builds up in your system. There are no safe blood lead concentrations. Adults with high lead concentrations can risk increased blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, and kidney damage.
  • Silica: Particles of stone, soil, sand, concrete, and mortar can irritate the lungs and cause long-term damage to construction workers. Prolonged exposure to silica can cause silicosis, permanent lung damage that’s sometimes fatal. There’s no cure for silicosis: you may require a lung transplant to recover.
  • Asbestos: A mineral fiber found in certain rocks and soil, asbestos is often used in insulation as a fire retardant. It’s remarkably heat resistant, so it was commonly used in building materials. Asbestos fibers can be released when materials are disturbed: demolition projects often dedicate time to asbestos mitigation when it’s discovered. Prolonged exposure can cause lung disease.
  • PCBs: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic chemicals often used in electrical equipment before the 1990s. These toxic chemicals were often used as coolants or lubricants. Although PCBs are no longer manufactured, exposure is possible during renovations or demolitions of older sites. High concentrations of PCBs can affect your liver or kidney.
  • Fiberglass: Used as an insulation material or support in plastics, fiberglass is another material that can affect victims’ breathing. If released into the air, filament glass fibers may get into respiratory tracts. You could experience short-term irritation or lung cancer after prolonged exposure.

Who is Liable for Toxic Exposure?

There could be several parties responsible for your toxic exposure. Contractors are generally in charge of maintaining a safe work environment. Workers hurt on the job may file a workers’ compensation claim, but if your damages are extreme or if someone’s negligence caused the exposure, you should consider a third-party liability claim.

A workers’ compensation claim can cover medical bills, some of your lost wages, and disabilities. But a third-party claim can give you much more compensation. You can seek non-economic damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, or mental anguish.

Possible liable parties for toxic chemical exposures include:

  • General Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Property Owners
  • Manufacturing Companies

How Does Toxic Exposure Happen on Work Sites?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates permissible levels of toxic chemicals on worksites. These protocols guide managers on handling certain chemicals and what steps to take to protect their workers.

While accidents can happen, there’s a higher likelihood of spills or hazards when a manager doesn’t enforce protocols. If managers don’t review the proper handling techniques of dangerous chemicals, someone will likely get hurt. There could also be issues whenever someone isn’t wearing the proper safety equipment to protect themselves.

Other incidents can occur if there are no proper signage warning workers of possible exposure. You can discuss the specifics of your case with a toxic exposure attorney.

Filing a Toxic Exposure Personal Injury Claim

If you believe you’ve been exposed to a toxic chemical while working on a New York City construction site, there are steps you should take to protect your health and wellness.

First, report the exposure to your employer. There’s a chance they didn’t know about the hazard. If they did, use that information in your injury claim to show negligence.

Next, seek medical treatment. If your injuries are significant enough, you may be taken for emergency treatment. Getting evaluated is essential, not just for your overall health, but also so you can use the doctor’s findings in your claim.

Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer. They can help you review your case and file a claim for damages.

Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Toxic Exposure?

When dealing with toxic chemical exposure, you might think hiring an attorney is an extra expense you don’t need. However, finding a New York hazardous material exposure lawyer is crucial to getting the compensation you deserve.

Exposure to chemicals and other hazardous materials may affect your ability to work. You’ll need to pay for your treatment, and if you have a diminished capacity to work, you may not be able to go to work. A lawyer will evaluate your circumstances and help you calculate the value of your toxic exposure claim.

They can help you find the medical treatment you need, negotiate with the defendant’s lawyers, and work on getting you the settlement you need. You may not be as successful in pursuing damages on your own.

Call a New York Personal Injury Attorney

Construction is a rewarding but risky field. You deserve compensation if you’ve been exposed to hazardous materials because of someone’s negligence. The lawyers at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., understand how daunting seeking damages can be. We know that you’re facing health concerns while pursuing justice.

We’re ready to hear your case. We have helped countless clients recover millions after their workplace injury. Let us help you.

Call (212) 490-5700 or use our online form to get started. Free consults.