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Workers' compensation and wood dust exposure

The California branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently taken steps that could lead to the eventual regulation of wood dust exposure. This could effect many workers in the state who deal with wood and wood dust, and it is important to be aware of how any changes could impact individual jobs. Regardless of whether wood dust exposure is ever regulated by authorities, workers harmed by dangerous job conditions could be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

At this point, the proposed rule would affect those who are exposed to hardwood and softwood dust in primary and secondary manufacturing. It would also drastically lower the permissible exposure levels of certain types of wood dust, specifically redwood. It is thought that wood dust can irritate the skin and could cause damage or illness if inhaled.

One of the proposed ways to limit wood dust exposure for those employed in the manufacturing industry is to provide protective gear. It is the employer's responsibility to eliminate unnecessary risks faced by employees and provide any equipment necessary to avoid illness and injury. Wood dust may not seem like a major risk factor, but it can lead to legitimate skin problems and respiratory issues.

When illnesses are contracted due to dangerous exposure at work, such as wood dust exposure, workers' compensation benefits are available. California workers have the right to pursue those benefits, and lawyers can ensure that they fully understand their entitlements and options. By seeking the help of a lawyer, a person has a better chance of a successful benefits claim.

Source: woodworkingnetwork.com, "California OSHA moves step closer to regulating wood dust exposure of workers", Bill Esler, May 25, 2016

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