Beryllium Exposure and Liability

If you are not sure what beryllium is, that’s not surprising. Few people have heard of this strong, lightweight metal outside of the industries where it is used—which range from aerospace applications to many manufacturing industries. Sadly, though, people have become more familiar with beryllium over the past decade due to the metal’s toxic effects.

As beryllium has become increasingly common in factories and other workplaces, it has been discovered that this powder is extremely toxic when inhaled. In response, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted extremely low limits for workplace beryllium exposure: just 2 µg/m3 of workroom air during an 8-hour work shift. In fact, there is no known safe level of beryllium exposure, as even minimal exposure may cause ulcers, rashes, chronic beryllium disease (also known as CBD or berylliosis and associated with respiratory symptoms and heart defects), cancer, or even death. OSHA restricts the amount of beryllium that may be released into workplace air, and companies can be held liable for exposing employees to unsafe levels of beryllium beyond this level.

Can My Company Be Held Liable For My Beryllium Exposure?

Even companies complying with government regulations for beryllium levels in workplace air can be held liable for not providing employees with adequate protection against the toxic metal. If any employee starts developing CBD symptoms, there may be a liability claim as workplace safeguards should ideally protect such a condition from developing. A personal injury lawyer will be able to best help you determine if your case has merit.

Unfortunately, beryllium exposure cases are not uncommon. They have actually been on the rise over the past decade, despite safeguards. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) regards this trend as unsurprising, as they believe that current OSHA standards are not safe and recommend much lower minimum release levels. Until ACGIH recommendations are employed, it is possible that even more employees will face debilitating conditions associated with beryllium. In the meantime, more and more companies may be held liable for their negligence related to beryllium safeguards.

If you have been exposed to beryllium in your workplace or by family members who work with the metal and are experiencing difficulty breathing or related symptoms, it is important to get yourself checked out right away. Toxic beryllium exposure is nothing to take lightly. After seeing a doctor, it is just as important to talk about any potential liability on the part of your company with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer. Call us today at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA for a free consultation on your case. Find out how we may be able to help get you healthy.

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