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Occupational Respiratory Diseases

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When most people think of workplace injuries, they generally imagine the dangers posed by machinery, power tools, high heights, or falling objects. While these are all serious threats to worker safety, there are other dangers that are less obvious. One category of such clandestine hazards is the risk for developing occupational respiratory diseases. When a person works in an environment where the air is heavily contaminated, they can develop a number of serious, and potentially life-threatening, lung problems.

Jobs that expose workers to heavy amounts of dusts, fumes, gases, vapors, and mists without the proper protective safety gear can easily put the employees in harm’s way. Harmful dusts can result from working around wood, silica, asbestos, cotton, talk, or even foodstuffs such as grains and coffee. Fumes from heated metals and other hazardous materials (common in jobs involving welding, furnace work, plastic production, and smelting) can also be dangerous. High-heat work environments can also result in dangerous gases such as ammonia, chlorine, and sulfur dioxide. Painters and pest control professionals will regularly encounter paint and pesticide mists that are harmful to breathe in. Of course, for those who work around fire, smoke inhalation is a serious health risk.

When an employer operates a workplace where they know that there will be the risk of lung-damaging substances in the air, it is their responsibility to provide their works with the appropriate protective gear and teach them how to use and maintain it. They must also assure that the environment meets ventilation and temperature standards. Harmful chemicals must be openly marked and the risks clearly communicated to employees. If an employer fails to do these things and their workers suffer as a result, the company may be held liable for the employees’ injuries. Problems should be reported at http://www.OSHA.gov.

For an employee, the consequences of lung conditions caused by hazardous work environments can be devastating. Medical bills can push the person into debt, a situation worsened by the possibility of missing significant amounts of work. If the individual is their family’s only source of income, the results can be truly devastating. Workers’ compensation may provide relief to employees who have been hurt due to their employer’s negligence. A legal professional can help hurt workers receive the compensation they need and deserve.


Source by Joseph Devine

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