Regardless of the industry or type of job, all workers are entitled to a safe workplace. Employers in more dangerous industries like construction or manufacturing need to take extra steps to protect their employees from harm. Unfortunately, some of the most dangerous conditions for workers are not obvious, and can even be hidden in plain sight.
Occupational diseases include any type of chronic disease or disorder caused by the type of work a person performs. While many workers are injured in accidents each year, occupational diseases develop slowly over time, but can be just as deadly.
Common occupational diseases include:
- Asthma – Asthma is a respiratory condition where spasms in the lungs make it difficult to breath. Workers can develop asthma when exposed to airborne toxins and other airborne substances. Tiny airborne particles can be inhaled and cause damage and inflammation of the lungs, leading to asthma.
- COPD – Chronic Obstructed Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for a variety of lung diseases that make it difficult for a person to breathe. People working in construction or industrial manufacturing are at a higher risk of COPD because they are exposed to pollution, fumes, dusts, etc. that can cause serious lung diseases. One of the most well known lung disease is mesothelioma, which is a lung cancer caused by small asbestos particles.
- Dermatitis – Occupational dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a damaging substance. In the early stages, dermatitis is very easy to treat; however, if left untreated, it could lead to severe infections or even cancer.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders – Musculoskeletal disorders exist in nearly every industry. While some musculoskeletal disorders can be minor, when left untreated, workers could suffer permanent damage and decreased earning capacity. Many musculoskeletal disorders are caused by repetitive stress injuries, where repetitive motions and vibrations can cause pain and nerve damage.
- Hearing loss – It cannot be understated how important ear protection is for loud workplaces. Workers exposed to loud noises can quickly lose hearing, and even suffer permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss is very common in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.
- Neurological Disorders – Anyone working with dangerous chemicals runs the risk of developing some kind of neurological disorder. Construction workers, factory workers, and agricultural workers commonly suffer neurological damage from occupational exposure to harmful contaminants.
Know Your Rights As A Worker
Nearly all occupational diseases are avoidable when employees are given the appropriate safety gear and safety training. It is an employer’s responsibility to keep workers safe, so when they fail to do so, they need to be held responsible. If you or someone you loved suffered an occupational disease, call Liggett Law Group today to protect your rights and learn about your legal options.