Former Georgia employees of Trimac Transportation are suing the company for allegedly exposing them to cancer-causing chemicals without providing proper protective equipment or implementing appropriate safety measures. Trimac is a Canadian-based company that transports liquid and dry bulk chemicals across the U.S.
A lawsuit filed by former employees of the company claims the employees suffered “debilitating injuries” and illnesses from the chemicals, including:
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic tumors
- Groin tumors
- Partial blindness
- Severe memory loss
- Extremity numbness
- Breathing problems
The employees allege that the company lied to them about the dangers of the chemicals and failed to provide them with proper safety training and equipment that might have protected them while working with the toxic chemicals, which included:
- 85% Hydrogen peroxide
- Nitric acid
- Roundup (glyphosate)
- Sulfuric acid
These chemicals are known irritants that can cause breathing issues, eye and skin irritation and cancer. Benzene, in particular, is a colorless liquid that vaporizes quickly and has been shown to cause chromosomal changes in bone marrow that result in cancer.
Lawsuit alleges Trimac failed to provide safety equipment and training
Many of the workers involved in the lawsuit were responsible for cleaning up the chemicals left behind in empty tanks after they were delivered, often cleaning as many as 16 to 25 tank trucks per day. Workers claim that the company told them the chemicals were safe and failed to provide proper safety equipment, like respirators, that could have protected them.
One worker, James Grove, who died recently after a long battle with lymphoma, gave an emergency disposition from his bed this past March in which he reported that the only protective equipment the company ever provided him was safety goggles and gloves.
According to the complaint, another tank cleaner who worked at the Trimac plants in Atlanta and Fairburn for 18 years currently needs heart and kidney transplants, and a third employee who cleaned tanks for 13 years was diagnosed with blastoid mantle cell lymphoma.
Trimac denies the allegations in the lawsuit, claiming that employee safety is a top priority.
In addition to Trimac, the lawsuit also includes some of the world’s largest chemical companies, including Monsanto, BASF, Bayer and Dow.
Trimac’s history of violations
Documents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that Trimac has a history of violations, including 2 formal enforcement actions at Trimac’s Fairburn facility in the last 6 years, after which Trimac agreed to pay $225,000 in a settlement with the EPA.
According to the EPA report, Trimac failed to “minimize the possibility of a fire, explosion or any unplanned sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste” and did not provide the necessary hazardous waste training to its workers. The EPA also discovered discarded waste rags in an unlabeled receptacle.
When to consult a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney
Unfortunately, violations like these are all too common. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets rules and regulations that companies must follow to keep workers safe, and when these rules are disregarded, worker injury and death can result.
Sadly many of these deaths and injuries that result in long-term health issues and diseases could be prevented if proper safety training and equipment were provided.
If you or a loved one was exposed to a toxic chemical at work that resulted in injury, illness or death, you have a right to compensation. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to cover all medical expenses and any lost wages (past and future) related to your inability to work as a result of your illness. Because workers’ compensation claims involving chemical exposure can be more complex than other cases, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your rights are protected.