Mercury is a metal that remains a liquid at room temperature, but it can easily become a liquid and a vapor. Many workers in Georgia are at risk for mercury exposure. If they inhale it, or their skin comes into contact with it, they may develop serious health conditions.

The California Department of Public Health explains that workers may be exposed to mercury via dust and vapors. The metal can be released through equipment that contains it, such as fluorescent light bulbs; plumbing, heating, and cooling equipment; pressure gauges at water treatment facilities; and even medical instruments, like blood pressure gauges. Therefore, the risk is not confined to a single industry.

Chronic exposure to low levels of mercury can lead to nerve damage, tremors or weakness in the limbs, anxiety and memory loss. At high levels, mercury can prove to be fatal. It puts women at risk for a stillbirth or miscarriage. In addition, birth defects become more likely with exposure. Mercury is known to negatively affect the reproductive functions of men and women alike.

Reducing mercury exposure begins with the proper training. Workers should be trained to handle mercury-containing equipment with care and inspect it for damage. They should have damaged equipment fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

Workers who develop health conditions because of mercury exposure may file a workers’ compensation claim regardless of whether there was any negligence involved. Since negligence does not factor into such a claim, it can be easier to file than a personal injury suit. However, the claim may still meet with resistance from the employer. Victims may want a lawyer to assist them with the claim and any appeals. An attorney may also explain when someone can opt for a settlement.