03 Jul Workers’ Comp and the Dry Cleaning Business
Few industries are recession-proof, but dry cleaning is one type of business that’s proven to be reliable and steady for small business owners for years. They employ thousands of people and there are over 36,000 individual dry cleaners in the United States alone. However, they’re also a quiet hub of workers’ compensation claims, and Bloom Law Office professionals have unfortunately seen the dirty side to dry cleaning.
Dry Cleaning Laws Around OSHA
Shockingly, there are no OSHA standards specific to dry cleaning. Working in a dry cleaning company means exposure to a range of chemicals, burn risks, and of course mobility issues and repetitive stress injuries. Chemicals may be absorbed through the eyes and skin, or vapors may be inhaled. One of the most common chemicals used in dry cleaning is called perchloroethylene (PERC). It’s been called a potential human carcinogen, yet it remains one of the most popular of dry cleaning solvents. Symptoms of poisoning from PERC can include impaired memory, dizziness, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, and irritation of the eyes, throat, or nose. It can lead to central nervous system depression and damage to the kidneys and liver.
Those who work in dry cleaning companies are often bending, lifting, scooping, and manipulating clothes in a variety of ways. This can lead to permanent damage to the body including full or partial disability—especially after years in the business. Hours on your feet or crouched in unnatural positions, severe eye strain from spending hours mending items, and mobility issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome from mending and steaming are all unfortunately common for workers in the dry cleaning business.
Who’s Covered Under Workers’ Comp
Most dry cleaning businesses are small, mom and pop style businesses. However, all businesses are still required to cover their workers with workers’ compensation coverage. Injuries at work don’t often happen instantly. You have two years to file a workers’ compensation claim from the date of injury or the date the known injury stemming from a work-related activity is discovered. In other words, the date of your carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis kick-starts your two years to file a claim if it was caused by working conditions.
Contact Jeffrey M. Bloom For A Complimentary Workers’ Comp Review
Don’t wait. If you know or suspect your injury was caused by your unique work environment, filing early is in your best interest. Call Bloom Law Office at 855-208-3650 and get help from a workers’ comp attorney who doesn’t get paid until you do.