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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Negligent Training and Supervision Resulted in Chemical Injuries to a Worker

    My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: Texas

    I began my job as a chemical inspector in the middle of last year based on the fact that I had about 8 months of prior experience as an inspector/helper, and began training with other inspectors. This was the only form of training offered to me during my employment.

    I had three separate chemical accidents (Benzene) that I honestly have not suffered many ill affects from, but I was not offered medical attention, and was told I was "fine" on three separate occasions, as well as encouraged not to report some of the product getting on my skin (after I had to put up with 10 hours of the product being in my boot).. I have witnesses and phone records of when these were. The last time it happened I researched the chemical myself and I should have definatley had medical attention to determine the severity of exposure (and each prior time I should have as well). All three times the product got on me from a mixture of inadequate training and equipment supplied.

    I got sick shortly after that happened and was out of work for around a week. During this time the safety manager and operations supervisor sat me down to "fill in" a safety training packet that was backdated to the date that was 3 months after I started. I asked them how I could sign for the information I have never seen (they did not even offer me the information, I had to ask for it twice and have proof of this as well), and they said I could because they knew I already knew everything. I initialed the document (but never dated it), and videod it and the answer key that was handed me to cheat with. A few days later I resigned (I did an informal report to osha, they covered everything of course) based on the fact that I can not work for people this irresponsible (and I had some support to return to school).

    I need to ensure that if anything comes of the exposures that I have medical coverage in the future. I have no clue what to do or what I can do (I have been gone from this job for about 6 months and am being pressed by my family to do something about it). Can I get any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    contact the DWC safety unit and file a complaint.
    http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/safety...tyhlth0615.pdf
    notify your employer in writing of the exposure incidents and keep a copy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    I just filed a complaint (not sure if I did it correctly but I am sure they will contact me about it), and I have notified my employer every time I got injured and have a witness on two of the accounts (and notes) and they know why I resigned. Should I still send them something?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    depends on whether you expect any problems in getting the witness to testify if a claim is disputed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    I only have a witness on one of the attempts to report the issue, but the previous attempt from the day before was also mentioned in the conversation. This is Texas so I can use recorded evidence in court, and that I do have. I also have videos and phone records that I can and will use to make this right.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    check and see if the law requires written notice and not just employer knowledge.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    You say you weren't offered medical attention. You further state that your reading tells you that you should have had medical attention. Did you go to a hospital or doctor yourself, and what did they say about the exposure? How much were all of your related costs in having to do this yourself thus far?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision That Resulted in Chemical Injuries/Texas

    I was discouraged to report the product only getting on my skin on multiple occasions. The affects of Benzene were shadowed by my employer so I-and may other inspectors- were not afraid to do their job (I have my bosses boss saying these words on video-which is perfectly legal in my state). My supervisors told me that it just happens (no, it doesnt. not if you have adequate equipment and PPE). The last time it happened it was pretty bad (affected both of my feet and up to my right ankle, all night long-after changing socks). I reported that it had happened the next morning (why would I call my supervisor at 9am on a sunday unless it was important?) and I was told directly "you don't need to report it if its just stinging or burning. if you ever get dizzy or passout let me know." My feet bothered me into that day and the next. I researched the product and what to do if I come into contact with it (100% benzene) and I should have definatley had medical attention. The fastest most reasonable thing I could do was get blood work (basically the only thing that can be done aside from a visual inspection of the affected area) done-and I was not able to get into a doctor as soon as I needed to be so I had my ex employer/chiropractor order blood work to detect if there was any present in my blood (this was 3 or 4 days after-this incident happened on a Friday, none was present at the time of the test). I would have went to the hospital immedieatley if I would have known the long-term affects of the product (I did not realize the product was directly related to cancer until I did my own research on my own time).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Even if the law states that I have to give them written knowledge, how am I supposed to know this? I am just now figuring out the whole process of filing the reports on my own. I have video and phone calls recording conversations between us and can prove they knew of the incidents. My employer did not even offer for me to do incident reports when I brought up that this was part of the (okay, about 90% of) reason I quit. The fact that the operations supervisor and the safety manager encouraged me to cheat on safety training put the icing on the cake as far as being able to work for them (after all of the safety related issues that I brought up and my general lack of finesse on the job it was apparently evident that this training would have helped me from the beginning).

    - - - Updated - - -

    I guess I need advice as to whether to file this as a workers compensation claim or as a personal injury claim (I can prove they negligently trained and supervised me, gave me inaccurate job-safety related information, and did not offer me medical attention that I had no clue I even needed-because I was not trained properly), and if one would affect the other. If I file it as a workers comp claim, can I still file on the basis of negligent training and supervision that directly resulted in my injuries and the fact that inadequate medical attention was received?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Negligent Training and Supervision-Chemical Injury in Texas

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Texas

    Short:
    3 chemical accidents occured due to my employer giving me crappy equipment and training.
    All of the accidents were reported soon after they happened-a shadow was cast on the importance of these incidents from the first time it happened or I would have taken them more seriously (I control the work area, my employer does not)
    I was, after the accidents occured, instructed to sign for documents related to my training that I had never seen, and was also instructed to cheat on pertinent job safety training (that I have proof of).



    I worked a job last year that I am working on filing workers comp for. I am, however, wondering if I could have a different type of case based on my employers negligence.
    When I started my job, the only training I received (I had 8 months prior experience working for a similar-caliber company apparently) was going with other inspectors and witnessing them do their job (helping sample product usually). I knew the basics of how to do the job because I had previously been employed (two and a half years prior to this hire-in) by another inspection company, but I apparantley was not trained well by them either.

    I incurred three separate instances of 100% benzene (once was vapor getting on my arm, once I was attempting to stop the equipment I was assigned from leaking and the product permeated the glove, once the product got mixed into standing water that I stepped through during job duties) getting to my skin.

    The first two times I told safety about the accidents (caused by leaking equipment assigned to me) and was basically told that it was not a big deal, it happens to people in petroleum inspection all the time. As long as I did not breathe the product (I knew to wear a respirator with this product but had no idea it would go through gloves) I would be okay. The individual I told even said that he had something shoot out of a barge on him when he first started inspecting and that he reported it and kept notes-his employer did nothing about it.

    The last time the product was spilled into standing water on the barge due to the sampling system assigned to me being an OPEN SYSTEM. I did not know the sampler should have not been used until I got to the job and an operator told me that I should not have an open sampler-he called my office to discuss this and the fact that I could not sample until the weather slowed up. 4 minutes later I get a call from the office telling me to go ahead and get the job done, so I did. I did not realize at this point in time that benzene can have affects just from aromatic skin contact from being used in an open sampling environment. As I am finishing up the job I notice that mainly my right foot was burning and itching. Benzene had mixed in with the water on the barge and I had been walking through it with non-chemical resistant boots. I immedieatley removed the boots and rinsed off my feet when I got home. Later I got called to do another job and put the same boots back on and had to deal with the product being in my boot for hours (I was on that job 10 hours I believe). I called my supervisor the next morning and told him about the accident and he said that I do not need to report the product just giving me skin irritation-only if it ever makes me dizzy or pass out. The burning/itching went on over the next day or so (just as the previous occurrence did) and I decided to do some research on the product myself. It became very apparent that my employer was misguiding me with safety training and medical attention. The only reasonable thing I could do was to get blood work done (it would have taken a week to get into a doctor-I went to my previous employer/friend whom could order blood work through his chiropractic practice). This was 3 or 4 days after the exposure (the exposure happened on a Friday) and nothing was detected.

    I got sick shortly after this and could not work for about a week. During that week I took a doctors note to them and was pulled to the side to do safety "training". The information I was supposed to sign for was backdated to three months after my hire in date and was already initialed by safety. I asked how I could sign for the information if I had never seen it, to which I got the reply "we already know you already know all this and we just need to get it out of the way."/So I Initialed the boxes that I was instructed to-but never dated nor signed the document. The next issue was a safety packet that I was handed the answer key to and instructed to cheat on. I have pictures and videos of all of this. At this point it is clear that these people are unfit to be in their positions and I shortly thereafter resign and go back to school.

    Upon telling them why I am quitting, I am questioned by my bosses boss (they set it up to where h would be there when I cam in to return my equipment). I explained everything and was told that I was basically full of crap and that nothing had happened. I explained many things he attempted to disprove. He goes on to tell me that I should have been wearing a respirator for EVERY chemical we deal with (something completely oblivious to me up to that point) and that I should know that (how? the inspectors I trained with don't even wear their respirators when they're dealing with Benzene).

    Any input is appreciated. The main reason I am seeking this out is because my family has urged me to get as much advice as I can on what process should be used to ensure I have what I need in the event the exposures result in anything later in life.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Negligent Training and Supervision-Chemical Injury in Texas

    If you injured yourself at work, you can make a worker's compensation claim.

    If you apply for unemployment, you can attempt to argue that your resignation was justified by your employer's failure to offer a safe workplace. No promises about the outcome, but it doesn't cost anything to try.

    As you have previously been told, if you believe your former employer has an unsafe workplace you can report the safety violation to the DWC.

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