Can my boyfriend sue his employer if they didn’t provide masks to protect him from toxic fumes?

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Can my boyfriend sue his employer if they didn’t provide masks to protect him from toxic fumes?

His boss was having him varnish wood and apply epoxy which is some kind of sealant. His boss didn’t provide masks and there was little to no ventilation. He has been sick for the past 3 days now, made a trip to the ER and he was coughing so hard he tore his chest wall and was having a hard time breathing. Now he has had a temp going for 3 days, his back hurts and he has a sore throat.Doctors did blood test, X-rays, and an EKG to test his heart but all they found was that he tore his chest wall. However it is obvious there is still something wrong.

Asked on August 14, 2011 Iowa

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Please, please, please have your boyfriend go an seek consultation from an attorney in your area as soon as he possibly can.  The consultation should be free. He may have only a workers compensation claim against his employer but there may be another party that he can go after for personal injuries. Now, he also needs to file a complaint with OSHA - the Occupations Safety & Health Administration - as there are obviously violations of the law that have been had here and injuries to the workers are resulting.  He is protected from being fired under what are known as whistleblower statutes and if he is fired would have a wrongful termination lawsuit to file.  Get him help asap.  Good luck. 


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