OSHA has recently released a warning to workers regarding the dangers of methylene chloride. The warning comes after a worker was killed as a result of exposure to the chemical. Anyone who works with the chemical is urged to take extra precautions.
According to OSHA, the worker was removing a bathtub coating using a paint stripper. The worker was performing the job in a small bathroom in an apartment. The window was open partially in order to provide ventilation. Just a couple of hours after the project was started, the worker was found unconscious. The cause of the worker’s death has been ruled as asphyxiation with acute methylene chloride toxicity.
Most people working with harsh chemicals in small spaces take the time to open windows to let air circulate. Unfortunately, in this incident, that precaution was not enough. OSHA is advising that there are safer alternatives to products that contain methylene chloride. When a safe alternative is not readily available, workers should do the following:
- Monitor air samples
- Utilize respiratory protection
- Work in an area that is properly ventilated
- Use personal protective equipment
- Provide hazardous chemical training to employees
In many cases, like that when methylene chloride is being used, simply opening a window for ventilation is not adequate. Turn on fans for air circulation and use a respirator. If you are unable to do these things, the chemical should not be used. As has been seen in the case mentioned above, the results could be deadly.
If you are not sure if the chemical is in the solution that you are using, read the label or ask someone who should know. Methylene chloride can be found in paint strippers, pesticides and in some solutions that are used in the processing of photographic film.
Working with chemicals should always be considered hazardous. If you have been injured on the job and need assistance with workers’ compensation in Charlotte, reach out to our team of attorneys. We will review the details of your case at no cost to you and advise you of your options. Call now for assistance or browse our website for more information about our firm.