Rosengren Law Office, LLC

Hazardous chemical in restaurant causes fatal workplace injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the death of a restaurant worker in another state. Reportedly, a kitchen worker inhaled the fumes of a sanitizer containing sodium hypochlorite. This type of workplace injury is preventable, and employers nationwide, including Minnesota, must provide safety training and personal protective equipment to mitigate chemical hazards.

In this case, the strong fumes affected several workers and even customers of the restaurant. Reportedly, one worker became nauseous and was rushed to a hospital. Sadly, he did not survive the incident. The restaurant was evacuated when several patrons and workers suffered eye irritation and breathing problems.

The American Lung Association warns that many cleaning substances contain chemicals that can cause severe health problems and even cancer. Workers must only use them in well-ventilated areas. Hazardous contents can include volatile organic compounds, bleach and ammonia. The association says even natural fragrances in cleaning products can be dangerous and warns that workers with respiratory illnesses or asthma are at increased risk.

Losing a loved one who suffered a deadly workplace injury is naturally a traumatic experience, which can be made even worse by the unanticipated financial consequences. When such a tragedy occurs, the costs of end-of-life arrangements and the sudden loss of wages can be overwhelming for the surviving family members. When this happens in Minnesota, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the death benefits claims process. Injured workers can also utilize the skills of legal counsel to recover medical expenses and lost wages, as well as to assess whether third party civil claims for monetary damages are also applicable to the circumstances.

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