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Could some manicurists qualify for workers' compensation?

When most people in Massachusetts consider workplace injuries, they likely think of construction workers who fall from a great height or a firefighter who rushes into a burning building. However, there are a variety a different workers who face risks in their workplaces because of the chemicals and other materials they routinely handle. For example, some manicurists and other workers in the field of cosmetology are known to suffer from a variety of different side effects as a result of the chemicals they handle. As a result, many may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

There are a variety of different health consequences that people who work as manicurists suffer, including miscarriages. In fact, some older workers will warn potential employees of childbearing age away from the occupation. Additionally, some studies have linked chemicals found in nail products to issues with reproductive health, including abnormal fetal development. Some studies also show that such workers suffer from asthma and other respiratory tract issues at a higher rate than workers in other industries. Additionally, workers frequently suffer from skin disorders as well as increased rates of death from certain types of cancer.

When attention was brought to some of the harmful effects of nail products, some manufacturers claimed to have removed the dangerous ingredients, but random sampling proves that these claims are not always accurate. While some states recommend the use of protective gear such as gloves, many employers discourage the use because of their appearance. A representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration even acknowledges that OSHA standards regarding chemical exposure due to the use of certain nail products needs revision.

In addition to the health issues these workers experience, they could also struggle with the financial costs created by seeking medical treatment. It is likely that many of these conditions could hinder a person's ability to work, creating further financial complications. However, an attorney with experience with workers' compensation claims may be able to help Massachusetts manicurists support claims that their medical problems were caused by work hazards. This could potentially allow them to receive compensation for their medical treatment and lost wages while also shedding light on the problems that plague workers in this industry.

Source: The New York Times, "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers", Sarah Maslin Nir, May 8, 2015

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