Unfortunately, it is not only the residents of Flint, Michigan, who may have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead. While construction workers may not be drinking contaminated water like in Flint, they can be exposed to lead on a daily basis at the construction sites where they work. Even worse, they can bring lead home on their clothes and work tools, causing their children to become exposed and suffer life-long learning and behavior problems.
Who Is Most at Risk of Suffering Lead Poisoning?
Workers most often ingest lead through inhaling it as dust, fumes, or mist, but they can swallow lead dust on their hands when eating, drinking, or smoking. While lead has been banned for household use, it is found in many materials at construction workplaces, including:
- Tank linings
- Electrical conduits
- Some soft solder used to solder tinplates and copper pipe joints
- Lead-based paints, primarily used on bridges, railroads, ships, and other steel structures
Painters, ironworkers, demolition workers, welders, and laborers working on structures containing lead paint are at the highest risk of being exposed to lead. However, workers in heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, renovation, and home improvement can also be exposed to this toxic substance. Workers risk exposure when they are performing the following tasks:
- Abrasive blasting
- Welding, cutting, and burning while working on steel structures
- Utilizing lead-containing mortar products
- Using power tools like sanders, grinders, needle guns, and heat guns
- Cleaning power tools with or without a dust collection system
- Rivet busting
- Cleaning up jobs when workers use dry expendable abrasives or in lead-contaminated work areas
- Moving or removing abrasive blasting enclosures
- Manual scraping and sanding
- Manual demolishing of structures
- Spray painting or other painting using lead-based paints
If you are exposed to lead on the job, you need to take steps to protect your family by washing and showering before returning from work, not bringing work clothes home, or washing them separately from those of your spouse and children.
Long-term lead exposure can cause construction workers to suffer permanent damage, such as brain, kidney, and reproductive system disorders. If you or a family member is a construction worker who suffered injuries caused by lead exposure, you could be entitled to compensation even if your employer opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits. Start an online chat with our experienced legal team to learn how we can assist you.