Working in a warehouse, there are many dangers you could run into. Sometimes, you don’t know what has been shipped to you. Other times, you could be handling dangerous or hazardous materials.
This news out of California shows how important it is to be aware of what you’re working with. In a distribution center in the state, several Amazon employees had to be hospitalized for exposure related to an unknown substance.
What happened to the employees?
According to the news report, the Cal Fire and Riverside County Fire Department responded to the warehouse in Eastvale at around 4:38 p.m. after it was reported that there had been an unusual exposure event. In total, 150 employees had to be evacuated, and six went to the hospital for treatment. Those employees reportedly had minor-to-moderate injuries.
The hazmat team also came to the scene with the fire department to try to isolate and identify the substance that had harmed the employees. However, by the end of the evening, the team said that it couldn’t find anything in the building to cause those injuries. The business was then allowed to reopen shortly thereafter.
What happens when people are hurt but the cause can’t be found?
There is no doubt that an injury that happens at work should be covered by workers’ compensation. Even if the offending substance cannot be found in a situation like this one, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist. Evaporation or other events could lead to a substance being difficult to identify or locate.
Good safety precautions are necessary
Being cautious is essential when you’re handling boxes or unknown items in a warehouse. You should have personal protective equipment like shields, gloves, aprons or other items if you could potentially handle anything hazardous. It is your employer’s job to provide adequate PPE and to make sure they prepare and plan for any kind of exposure that might take place. This way, employees will be as protected as possible.
If you or other coworkers are hurt on the job, then you should consider moving forward with your workers’ compensation claim. If you’re denied, then it may be a good idea to learn more about your legal options.