On March 21st, 2023, the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced sanctions against Parter Medical Products, Inc., a Carson-based manufacturer. The employer was cited for a willful violation, including exposing employees to toxic chemicals in the workplace. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer highlights the most important things to know about the Cal/OSHA citations and explains the steps you should take if you or your family member was subject to a toxic exposure in the workplace.
Cal/OSHA has issued 18 citations, including six willful-serious violations, to Parter Medical Products, Inc. for failing to protect employees from overexposure to ethylene oxide, a toxic chemical. In total, the financial penalties amount to $838,800. The company uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical devices, and chronic exposure is linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and neurotoxicity. Despite facility modifications, employee-exposure issues persisted. The allegations raised in the workplace safety violations include:
- Lacking an effective safety plan;
- Failing to develop a respiratory protection plan;
- Inadequate monitoring of employee exposure; and
- Not notifying workers of exposure above permissible limits.
An exposure to a dangerous chemical or other type of toxic substance is a serious matter. It could put an employee at significant risk of immediate harm and/or long-term harm. Workers take action to protect their health, well-being, and rights. Here are four steps to take:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: If you suspect you have been exposed to toxic chemicals or substances at your workplace in California, the first and most important step is to seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in managing the effects of exposure, preventing long-term health issues
- Notify Your Employer: An employer should be notified of a suspected toxic exposure incident right away. It is crucial to formally report the incident to ensure that proper steps are taken to address the hazard and prevent further incidents. Your employer is responsible for investigating the situation and implementing necessary safety measures.
- Be Ready to File for Workers’ Comp: If you have suffered a toxic exposure on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs. To ensure you receive the benefits you deserve, file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.
- Consult With a Workers’ Comp Lawyer: Workplace toxic exposure claims are notoriously complex. You do not have to navigate the workers’ comp claims and/or appeals process alone. Consult with a Fresno worker’s comp attorney who has experience with toxic exposure incidences for reliable guidance and support.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top workers’ compensation lawyer. If you or your loved one was injured or made ill in the workplace due to an employer’s safety violations, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up a fully confidential consultation. Our firm represents injured workers in Fresno, Fresno County, and throughout the wider region in Central California.