Benzene, a common chemical used in various products, is harmful whether touched, swallowed or inhaled. Benzene exposure has been linked to different health ailments such as cancer (leukemia), among others. Here are some of the potentially liable parties if you are exposed to benzene at work:
The Manufacturer of the Product Containing Benzene
If you have been exposed to benzene, it's unlikely that the hydrocarbon was there in its pure form. In most cases, you are exposed to benzene by being exposed to one of the numerous products that contain it. Benzene is used to manufacture different products such as plastics, paints, and lubricants, among others.
Thus, if you are exposed to benzene, you can go after the manufacturer (and other middlemen in the chain of distribution) by claiming that they manufactured and sold a dangerous product without giving adequate warning about its inherent dangers. You can also claim that the manufacturer and distributors did not give clear instructions on how to use the product safely. Of course, you will be expected to back up your claims with hard evidence.
Apart from the manufacturer of the products containing benzene, you can also name your employer as the respondent in your demand letter. Here are two examples of claims that would allow you to go after your employer:
The Manufacturer of the Equipment Meant for Your Protection
Lastly, you can also lodge your claim against the manufacturer of the safety equipment that was meant to protect you from benzene. Of course, this is only applicable if there were indeed safety equipment meant for your protection, but they failed. For example, if you were provided with defective respirators that did not prevent you from breathing in benzene fumes, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the respirators.
If you are exposed to benzene, or any other chemical in the workplace, the first thing is to get yourself checked by a physician. After that, consult a worker's compensation lawyer to see if you have a viable case. These types of cases tend to be difficult to prove because the injuries occur over a long time so it's best to approach them with a lawyer, like one from Gartner Law Firm.