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Workers' compensation defense may be needed for Benzene exposure

Workers' compensation defense may be necessary for some California companies that foresee a future risk of serious health related problems among multiple employees. The medical costs of multiple workers that suffer health damage from chemical exposure may be extensive for an employer, making a strong workers' compensation defense valuable. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recently completed a study that found high levels of Benzene exposure in specific oil and gas industry positions.

The Institute believes that employees that regularly work on job sites where fracking or flowback takes place may be regularly exposed to this cancer-causing gas. Researchers found that when employees opened tank hatches located on well sites, close to 88 percent of the air samples contained high levels of Benzene beyond recommended levels. The federal recommendation for exposure limits Benzene to .1 part per million in the entirety of a worker's shift.

The oil and gas industry has expanded quickly and continues to use new developments and technologies to complete necessary readings and analysis. Although the long term effects of flowback and fracking employment positions have not been determined, experts believe that some people may be at great risk of their future health. Employees responsible for measuring flowback fluids were exposed to the potentially poisonous gas multiple times a day for periods of time long enough to allow serious levels of chemicals and carcinogens from the fluid to be inhaled.

High levels of Benzene are believed to damage the liver and kidneys in addition to the human nervous system. The amount of Benzene gas the workers are regularly exposed to may be high enough that industry professionals believe it could cause serious health risks to workers. A California employer may choose to organize a workers' compensation defense with a trusted guide in the event widespread health problems accrue among workers.

Source:, "Fracking workers exposed to dangerous amounts of benzene, study says", Neela Banerjee, Sept. 11, 2014

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