While most people equate workplace injuries with bodily harm following a single accident, there are numerous ways an employee can get hurt. From strains due to repetitive motion to deadly conditions linked to toxic exposure, a worker doesn’t have to slip and fall to get hurt.
Even with growing public awareness of the hazards different kinds of chemicals can cause, workers continue to suffer the ill effects of exposure. What are the most common types of occupational diseases workers might face?
- Occupational asthma: Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system that can lead to difficulty breathing, chest tightness and coughing. The inhalation of paint fumes, insulation fibers, airborne insecticides and other particulate matter can ultimately damage the lungs and lead to asthma. According to OSHA research, work-related factors are responsible for up to 15 % of asthma sufferers in the United States.
- Occupational contact dermatitis: Research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that 13 million workers in the U.S. are at risk of being exposed to variables that might lead to skin disease. These variables can include allergens, irritants, chemicals, temperatures, radiation, mechanical labor, plants, animals or parasites. Occupational contact dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, can lead to itching, pain and redness of the skin.
- Occupational hearing loss: Occupational hearing loss can be the result of exposure to either loud noises or exposure to ototoxic chemicals – or a combination of both. Symptoms can range from varying levels of diminished hearing to complete hearing loss.
- Occupational heat illness: Workers are in danger of heat illness whether they are working outside in direct sunlight or inside in a poorly ventilated area. Depending on the intensity and duration of the exposure, heat illnesses can include stroke, exhaustion or cramps.
It is important to remain safe and well-informed in all work environments. Unfortunately, even following the proper protocols and wearing the recommended personal protective equipment cannot prevent every form of danger. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a work accident, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at once.