The University of Arizona received a grant of $3 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This is to finance a study of the chemical hazards faced by workers in auto repair shops and beauty parlors. While most people would associate an industrial accident with a large manufacturing plant, hazardous chemicals in small businesses can also cause incidents with severe consequences.
An associate professor at UA said that the leading cause of fatalities nationwide is of occupational nature. Both diseases and injuries that are work-related make up a majority of deaths in the country. However, it was noted that a significant number of reported occupational illnesses affect minority workers with marginalized statuses. The aim is partly to educate these workers about the risks and to help them understand their rights to protection.
Employees in auto repair shops and beauty salons work with dangerous solvents. They are frequently exposed to organic chemicals that are volatile and have links with neurological and cardiovascular diseases as well as conditions such as asthma, cancer and other illnesses. The researchers will aim to design controls to reduce workers’ exposure and to implement those measures.
While Arizona workers in these industries might enjoy this additional protection in the future, existing exposure will continue to pose risks to workers. Any victim of an industrial accident or an employee who suffers an occupational disease due to chemical exposure is likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The claims process may be daunting, but an experienced attorney can provide the necessary assistance in pursuit of recovery of medical expenses and lost wages.
Source: ehstoday.com, “$3 Million Study Investigates Hazardous Chemicals Salons Auto Shops“, Dave Blanchard, Accessed on Feb. 26, 2018