While chlorine can be considered a household product, and is frequently used in swimming pools and cleaning products, it’s dangerous stuff. In fact, chlorine gas is so dangerous, it was used as a chemical weapon during WWI.
Chlorine is responsible for countless injuries every year, some of which are fatal. Though most of the injuries only amount to skin irritations or burns, chlorine gas can result in fatal explosions, and severe respiratory injuries.
Beware of Unmarked Drums of Gas
In 2015, eight employees of Pacific Steel and Recycling in Spokane, Washington, were injured when an unlabeled 2,000 lbs. drum of chlorine gas was crushed at the recycling facility. Sadly, one of the eight workers died. However, one of the workers that survived, Felix Shuck, filed a lawsuit in 2017 due to the injury to his lungs caused by the chlorine gas. Shuck’s lung capacity was reduced by half, and he suffered other injuries, that left him unable to continue working.
Shuck’s lawsuit seeks to hold the company that dropped off the ton of chlorine gas liable for his injuries, rather than his employer. Shuck alleges that Ibex Construction, who allegedly hired a subcontractor to drop off the gas, was negligent in failing to label the drum of gas. However, a government agency fined Pacific Steel and Recycling for failing to follow proper procedure in handling the drum of gas, including stripping off pressure gauges and requiring a certificate stating the gas drum was empty before accepting for recycling.
Liability for Exposure to Toxic Substances
Individuals can generally recover damages for injuries suffered as a result of being exposed to toxic substances due to another’s negligence. In many cases, such as in asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other toxic torts, several parties, including the original manufacturer of the toxic substance can be found liable.
Typically, when a person is exposed to, and injured by, a toxic substance at work, workers compensation coverage should be available. However, even when an injury occurs at an employer’s worksite, if the injury was the result of another employee, customer, or third party’s actions, there may be additional liability for damages not covered by workers compensation.
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