What Is Occupational Exposure, and When Do You Need an Attorney?

Occupational exposure may refer to several areas of work-related risks. Chemical exposures may affect those who work in factories, while biohazards are more likely to impact healthcare workers. Likewise, construction, offshore, and outdoor jobs come with unique occupational exposure dangers, as do many jobs involving manual labor.

Injuries resulting from occupational exposure are protected under the law. We at the D’Amico Law Offices have an extensive history of representing injured workers, including asbestos exposure cases. However, occupational exposure doesn’t stop at just dangerous or infectious substances. Read on to find out if your workplace injury may be considered an occupational exposure case.


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A woman crosses her arms in full gown, mask, and face guard for chemical or biological exposure protection.

The Most Common Types of Occupational Exposure

When most people define occupational exposure, they quickly and correctly identify chemical accidents or construction dust as prime examples. We’ve compiled more detailed explanations of common occupational exposures below. We’ve also included some lesser-known instances of occupational hazard that are still just as dangerous to worker health and safety.

Chemical and Biological Hazards

There are many chemical and biological hazards that may come into contact with workers, such as:

  • Chemical compounds like benzene in factories or industrial settings can harm workers with their fumes, their corrosive properties, or if a spill causes a slip-and-fall injury.
  • Blood and other mammalian fluids in healthcare, veterinary, correctional, or janitorial jobs can expose workers to infections or bloodborne diseases like HIV, COVID-19, or various hepatitises.
  • Toxic substances like asbestos material in old walls or pipes, or poisons meant to control bug infestations, may lead to occupational exposure.

If you work with dangerous substances, you should be provided with proper masks and shields to protect yourself from injury and/or infection.

A man wearing a respiratory mask works construction amidst a cloud of sheetrock dust.

Environmental Dangers

Dangers that come from the environment a worker must be in to do their job include:

  • Sound and noise pollution experienced by airport ground personnel, construction workers, factory employees, nightclub workers, and those who work at other noisy jobs.
  • Nature hazards for those who work offshore or outdoors may experience harm caused by extreme heat, cold, water, ice, or fire, as well potential animal injury (a hive of bees or an interaction with a bear while logging, for example).
  • The cleanup done by recovery crews and the National Guard after natural disasters also presents work-related dangers, like sicknesses caused by dealing with decaying elements or mold spores.

It’s important that your employer supplies you with proper safety gear like ear plugs, gloves, masks, and first aid access if you’re employed in a position that exposes you to environmental hazards.

A woman worker in a flannel shirt and wearing eye goggles straps on a wrist brace.

Repetitive Motion Exposure

Most people define occupational exposure as an exposure to a harmful substance, like a chemical spill. However, for jobs that require repetitive movement of their workers, that is also an area of occupational exposure to dangerous conditions like:

  • Carpal tunnel for those who type regularly, or work on an assembly line performing the same motion over and over each day.
  • Back injuries caused by moving heavy cargo, directing traffic, lifting gurneys, etc.
  • Eye strain caused by jobs like computer programming or welding.

Protections on jobs that cause repetitive motion injuries or eye strain should include proper braces to protect your joints and back, and regular breaks to reduce strain.\

If you’ve been injured, or if your job isn’t abiding by policies that keep you and your coworkers safe, contact D’Amico Law by calling (412) 652-9300 to assert your rights.

What Is an Occupational Exposure Limit?

Occupational exposure limits (OELs) and permissible exposure limits (PELs) regulate the maximum allowable concentration of toxic fumes or substances that employees can be exposed to before they’re at risk of injury. This is a problematic area when it comes to materials like asbestos, which causes a unique and fatal cancer.

Occupational exposure limits are also applicable in jobs that involve loud noise, repetitive manual labor motions, and environmental exposure to heat or cold.

If you suspect your company or boss isn’t abiding by the mandatory protections in place to keep you safe, contact D’Amico Law by calling (412) 652-9300 to discuss your rights and legal options. We may be able to help you protect yourself.

What Does an Occupational Exposure Lawsuit Help With?

Worker’s compensation is often insufficient for the care required to heal from occupational injuries. An occupational exposure lawsuit can help you recover:

  • Medical costs for appointments, surgeries, therapies, recovery aids, or follow-up care
  • Lost wages or employment advancement opportunities
  • Compensation for pain and suffering, including physical pain and emotional anguish
  • Punitive or “punishment” damages if your company or boss irresponsibly put you in harm’s away
  • Wrongful death support for funeral or burial costs and the loss of income if your loved one dies due to work-related injuries or exposure

If you need a lawyer to help you access the financial resources you require due to an occupational exposure issue, call the D’Amico Law Firm at (412) 652-9300 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Client Reviews for D’Amico Law Firm

Hear from previous clients about their experience working with the D’Amico Law Firm.

The D’Amicos helped me through the darkest time of my life. Always available by phone or email. Very professional, kind, and understanding. I would highly recommend their office.

Amy M.

Mike D’Amico and his family have experience with mesothelioma, personal injury, asbestos cancer, and medical malpractice. I would recommend the D’Amico Law Offices to anyone looking for a family-run environment where they understand how important the health and well being of your family are to you!

Niedz D.

Professionalism, integrity, and personal attention are clearly what make this law firm successful. From my first meeting with the team, I was treated as a person that needed assistance and not merely a client. Every option was explained clearly without jargon and the emphasis was on what was best for me. I had an excellent experience throughout my engagement with the D’Amico team.

Stan J.

Contact an Experienced Occupational Exposure Attorney

Dangerous jobs are some of the most important professions in our society. Those who do the hard labor and dirty jobs that keep the rest of the population comfortable, fed, and safe deserve the best. That means protections from harm, and swift, comprehensive support if an accident does occur. Unfortunately, many honest workers are injured each year, and need professional assistance after an occupational exposure injury.

D’Amico Law is a family-run firm that is dedicated to community well-being and exemplary service for our clients. We encourage you to call us at (412) 652-9300 or reach out via our online contact form to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience. The sooner you contact one of our attorneys, the sooner we can take over the work for your case so that you’re able to recover in peace.

Occupational Exposure FAQ

Occupational exposure means you’re exposed to hazardous materials or circumstances in the course of doing your job. Whether you work in healthcare, construction, offshore, or outdoors, the risks are real and so are your rights.

General areas of occupational exposure include:

  • Chemical and biological hazards (industrial solvents or organic fluids like blood)
  • Environmental dangers (such as weather hazards, animal interactions, or hearing damage from loud workplaces)
  • Repetitive motion exposure (examples include assembly line jobs that cause carpal tunnel, eye strain from computer screens or welding flames, and back injury from heavy lifting)

Some of the best protections in dangerous workplaces are the limits placed on occupational exposure, such as limiting the time spent in loud, toxic, or stressful environments. It also means limiting unprotected contact with dangerous substances like chemicals and biohazardous materials (blood, human waste, etc.).

An experienced occupational exposure lawyer from the D’Amico Law Offices can help you file a lawsuit that may allow you to recover:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Punitive or “punishment” damages
  • Wrongful death support