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What is meant by occupational disease?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

While workers’ compensation is generally thought of in terms of a single work accident or even repetitive stress injuries, employees can suffer serious conditions due to toxic exposure or other workplace hazards. Even with advanced safety training and the use of personal protective gear, workers might still be exposed to deadly chemicals on every shift.

There are numerous types of hazardous materials that can lead to toxic work exposure. While occupational diseases are virtually limitless, there are four commonly recognized categories.

  • Occupational asthma: OSHA research notes that work-related factors can be responsible for up to 15% of the asthma sufferers throughout the United States. Due to exposure to paint, insulation, insecticide and other environmental factors, workers can struggle with difficulty breathing, chest tightness and coughing.
  • Occupational contact dermatitis: This is a skin condition directly traceable to various substances in the workplace. Contact dermatitis is one of the most common occupational diseases and can be caused by factors such as allergies, irritants, chemicals, temperatures, radiation or parasites. This can lead to a rash, skin inflammation, pain and redness.
  • Occupational hearing loss: While general noise level can lead to hearing loss, exposure to ototoxic chemicals can also be dangerous.
  • Occupational heat illness: Heat-related conditions can be among the deadliest experienced by workers. Serious conditions such as heat stroke can result from poor ventilation, dehydration, high temperatures and lack of rest periods.

Additionally, many workplaces are cautious about the spread of COVID-19. With numerous protections in place, supervisors hope to foster a safe environment for workers.

If you have developed an occupational disease, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Based on your unique situation, there might be significant benefits available to you.