Keeping Ohio hospitals up and running involves many more people than just the doctors, nurses and other licensed medical workers. For instance, you may be one of thousands of people who work in the health care industry as a maintenance employee. Not only is pushing heavy cleaning carts around for hours on end a tiresome job, it can take a toll on your knees and back as well.
You and your fellow workers may also be at risk for personal injury on the job because of possible toxins that may affect your health. If you are on a crew that cleans hospitals, you no doubt come in contact with hazardous chemicals on a frequent basis. Your employer must provide you with all necessary information, training and equipment to help keep you safe and lower your risk for workplace injuries.
Federal, state and local laws may apply
How do you know if a specific chemical that you must use to carry out your workplace duties is toxic? There are federal, state and local government entities that may regulate such issues. Then again, you could also be coming into contact with hazardous chemicals for which there is little to no government regulation.
In a hospital environment
If you work in a hospital on a cleaning crew, one of the greatest chemical hazards risks you face is in your cleaning supplies. Many commercial grade cleaners contain carcinogens and skin damaging materials.
When you use, store, transport or discard certain supplies, chemical reactions may take place or the contents may be released into the air that can pose a significant danger to your health. In addition to ingredients in cleaners, you may suffer asbestos exposure from flame retardant materials or other adverse health issues from constant exposure to electronic equipment.
Not all injuries are immediately apparent
If a liquid containing harsh chemicals spills or splashes on you at work, you may suffer an immediately apparent injury. Such chemicals often cause blistering or injuries that look like severe burns. However, if you're exposed to toxins in a hospital employment environment, you may not know you are ill or injured right away.
For instance, asbestos exposure can cause various incurable diseases that are slow to develop. It might take years before noticeable symptoms arise. This is one of many reasons it's important to seek medical attention if you're not feeling well and inform your physician of any possible workplace issues that may have something to do with your ill health.
Recovering from workplace injuries
If you're in an accident on the job, such as falling on a wet floor or getting your hand caught in a machine, you may have to take time off work to recover. Some injuries, however, such as those that may occur due to toxic exposures in the workplace, can cause partial or full permanent disabilities.
Many Ohio workers' lives have been devastated due to workplace injuries that prevent them from being able to return to their jobs. The specialized care, medical attention and day-to-day assistance you might need if you suffer a serious workplace injury may cause financial crisis that you are not prepared to meet. It's a good idea to speak with someone who is well-versed in workers' compensation laws to make sure you are able to obtain much needed benefits in the aftermath of an on-the-job injury.