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Can I get workers' compensation if harmed by poor air quality?

Pennsylvania employers are required to provide their employees with reasonably safe working conditions free from unnecessary hazards. This applies to more than just physical dangers, such as falling debris or improperly maintained equipment; it also covers the possible presence of toxic substances in the air. While workers' compensation benefits are available for workers injured by poor workplace air quality, action may also be taken under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to help implement change.

Unlike other dangerous situations or equipment, breathing is not something that a person can avoid. Poor ventilation, unreasonable temperatures and even smoking can all contribute to dangerous air quality in the workplace. While OSHA is somewhat lax when it comes to regulating indoor air quality, it still mandates that employers must be aware of sources that contribute to poor air conditions.

Unfortunately, not all employers comply with the requirement to provide a reasonably safe work environment, and allow air contaminants to negatively impact their workers. When employees are aware of poor air quality conditions at their place of work they can make appropriate complaints with their boss or even to OSHA itself. However, many are unaware of the damage being done to their bodies until it is too late.

Workers' compensation benefits are an invaluable tool for anyone in Pennsylvania who has been hurt on the job. While some injuries are sustained after a single accident, others are suffered over time, whether from repetitive motions or the presence of toxic materials in the air. Either way, workers' comp can provide the necessary financial stability as victims of workplace injuries get the medical treatment they deserve.

Source: osha.gov, "Indoor Air Quality", Accessed on Oct. 23, 2017

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