Benzene Injury Law

Benzene Injury Law Blog

Employee Exposure and Medical Records Act – OSHA Law Requiring Employers to Track Employees’ Exposures to Toxins in the Workplace

Workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals can work around those chemicals for years with no knowledge of the long-term effects of exposure. Many retire seemingly healthy, but years later develop cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), multiple myeloma(MM), and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Prior to 1980, it was a near-impossible task for mechanics, operators, mixers, loaders, plumbers, testers, foremen, and other individuals who were working with dangerous toxins to determine which chemicals they were working with ten, twenty, or even thirty years earlier.

Free Case Evaluation

    For this and other reasons, on May 23, 1980, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated the Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records Standard, or the EEMR. The stated purpose of the act is to provide employees with access to relevant toxic exposure data and medical records. This access is intended to help treating doctors know what their patients were working with, and also to assist employers in making decisions to prevent, or at least limit, occupational diseases arising from working with or around toxic chemicals.

    Employee Workplace Exposure

    The expectations for employers include air monitoring in areas where employees work with or around certain chemicals. Examples of “employee exposure records” include industrial hygiene samples of chemicals, dust, and noise levels; material safety data sheets; and chemical records or inventories showing where and when these chemicals were used. Employers should then be able to use the knowledge gained from this testing to determine which employees should be provided with which type of personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers are also required to compile medical information about employees who have become sick. That information along with the testing data should allow employers to tighten safety standards, thereby reducing the incidence of employees developing cancers and other occupational diseases.

    Need Our Help? Contact Us Today!

    Chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and methyl chloride (MC) are understood by OSHA to be so toxic that employers are required to collect, maintain, and keep records on how their employees would have been exposed to TCE or MC for 30 years. In some cases, OSHA requires the toxic exposure records to be kept for 30 years after the employee retires or leaves the company. OSHA understood the importance of providing access to toxic exposure records to those with occupational diseases.  And in fact, OSHA requires that employers turn over the necessary records within 15 days of an employee making a written request. Employers who willfully violate the act can be fined $10,000, and even be imprisoned for 6 months. Destruction of relevant records is generally considered a “willful” violation of the EEMR.

    The responsibility for keeping and maintaining EEMR does not end when companies are sold to or merged with other companies, or when plants close. If a company is sold or merges with another company, the records, and responsibility for keeping them are to be moved to the new entity. If a company goes out of business, the records are moved to OSHA. Companies are not permitted to escape liability by telling sick employees that they do not have records of what they worked with and when.

    In proving up your leukemia or cancer claim, the attorneys at Hughes Law Offices will utilize laws like the EEMR to determine which toxic exposures you had, when they occurred and where they occurred.  OSHA’s required tracking of these toxic exposures is one way of helping American workers. Call 1-800-BENZENE today if you suspect that your cancer or leukemia was caused by toxic workplace exposures.

    Client Testimonials

    Find Out More From Our Clients

    One Court Street Alton IL 62002 US
    (618) 681-9999
    5/5 based on 7 reviews

    Wrongful Death Case

    My family hired attorney Hughes for the wrongful death of my brother. Mr. Hughes worked very hard on our case, the results were excellent. I would recommend him to anyone needing an attorney, he is a very fair and kind person.

    Unique Expertise

    Andrew took over my asthma claim with the railroad after a different law firm failed to meet expectations. Andrew’s unique expertise in the field of diesel related injury gave him the ability to build my case exceptionally well. When Andrew presented...

    Professional and Trustworthy

    From my very first contact with Andrew we have found him to be compassionate, hard working and trust worthy. In the eight months we were associated with Andrew we feel he has also become a friend of ours...

    Worked Diligently

    For the past two years Andrew Hughes has worked diligently in helping me with my case against the Norfolk Southern R.R. During this time he has kept me thoroughly informed about my case his expertise led to me getting a generous settlement...

    Questions? We Can Help! Contact Us Today!