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Wiping Up a Chemical Spill - California

Question: An installation tech is installing a chemical fume hood in a lab. He decides to take a break for lunch and walk to the food court. While walking to the on-site food court, he notices a spill, assumes it is water and decides to wipe it up without using any PPE. 12 hours later, at home, the employee is experiencing swelling in his throat and ends up staying 2 days overnight for treatment. Is it compensable?. Is it compensable? -Nate B. 1/9/21

Answer: This injury would most likely be compensable. Because the cleaning up of spills could fit within the scope and duty of an installation tech, and because he is on-site, this would most likely result in a compensable claim. (source: https://www.wcirb.com/guide-to-workers-compensation/introduction-wcirb/overview). Additionally, this is an example of a 'mutual benefit' for the employer. You can make the case that the employer benefitted from the action of the employee (wiping up a spill) and therefore the injury would probably be compensable. -McKell S.1/17/21

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