Kentucky residents should know that not far from them, in the city of Newark, officials have been handing out bottled water to the residents after finding high levels of lead in the water. The National Resources Defense Council has even sued the city, claiming that officials failed to install systems to prevent water corrosion on service lines. All of this shows the importance of preventing lead exposure.
While employers may not have an entire city’s supply of drinking water to overlook, they still have a responsibility to their workers. These responsibilities are clearly laid down by OSHA. Most prominently, the safety organization requires all employers to provide free potable water both for drinking and for washing one’s hands. Drinking water must be dispensed from a drinking fountain or a covered container with disposable paper cups or bottles.
When drinking water cannot be dispensed in the above-mentioned ways, employers are to dispense bottled water. If tap water is safe for drinking, it is allowed under OSHA guidelines for use among employees. Employees must be prohibited against sharing drinking cups and bottles, though.
Though lead is frequently found in the manufacturing, construction and wholesale trade industries, it is present elsewhere. By accessing OSHA’s Chemical Exposure Health Database, employers can review data on lead air concentrations in various sectors.
If workers suffer brain damage, heart and kidney issues or infertility as a result of lead exposure, they may be able to receive some compensation through workers’ compensation law. Workers’ comp benefits offer wage replacement and cover short- or long-term disability leave and medical bills, and they can be paid out regardless of who was at fault for the injuries. A lawyer may assist with the filing of the claim and even with the mounting of an appeal if there is opposition.