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Five common occupational health issues and legal actions you can take


Even with the technological advancements every day, many risky and potentially harmful jobs have to be taken up by people. These can include sanitation work deep underground, mining, welding, asbestos products handling, work in radioactive environments etc. It can sometimes result in loss of health or even life.

Occupational health issues are medical disorders that are caused due to the activities involved in a job. Many jobs include tasks that increase the risks of accidents or particular diseases. These are included in occupational hazards. Mental disorders resulting from employment in adverse conditions are also occupational issues.

Under OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines and labor laws passed by governments worldwide, employers are responsible for mitigating these hazards. Employers are supposed to inform the workers exactly what dangers lie in their work, provide them with personal protection equipment (PPEs) and arrange work hours in a way that minimizes the threat. The workplace also has to be designed to incorporate standardized safety requirements such as emergency exits and isolation of hazards.

You should be mindful that it is only possible to take legal action if the disease is caused directly by unsafe work conditions. Facing adverse effects on your health, you might be able to receive worker compensation or sue your employers for their negligence regarding safety protocols.

1.Occupational Cancer

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that is mined from the earth. It was extensively used as an electrical insulator and still used as a building material. Inhaling this material can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma. If you or a loved one are affected by these conditions, you can learn more about mesothelioma lawsuit settlements from credible law firms.

These dangerous conditions result from inhaling the microscopic fibers released from asbestos. Asbestos usage is now banned in many developed countries, and there is strict regulation on its handling.

Other forms of work-related cancers are that of the lung, bladder and leukemia. This can happen to firefighters, drivers, miners, roofers, and nuclear plant workers.

The affected person or their family can collect data regarding the dangerous exposure and file a lawsuit after consulting a law firm. Most of these lawsuits result in financial compensation for the aggrieved.

2.Poisoning by toxic chemicals

Toxic chemicals are widely used in the manufacturing of goods. Examples include dangerous acids and bases, heavy metals, pesticides, and the like.

Industry workers in tanneries, fertilizer producing units, insecticide and pesticide factories, industrial acid production units are especially exposed to the adverse effects of these toxic chemicals.

The harmful effects include thyroid problems, brain and nervous system damage, loss of mental and physical faculties, and even death.

Health problems can also happen when industrial and laboratory workers encounter irritants. They may develop skin diseases such as eczema as a result.

In this health issue, the damage needs to be traced back to the occupation and established with a fair amount of certainty. Only then can the affected take legal recourse and claim compensation for their losses.

3.Physical damage or injury

Working in certain jobs can cause physical damage to the body’s structure. Working with saws, forging press, and machine tools can cause loss of fingers or limbs.

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from pressure on the backside of the palm and forearm. The hand and the arm then become numb and weak.

Health issues related to posture can arise both from jobs that require lifting heavy weights and from quite sedentary occupations. This is because spending long work hours with bad posture can be equally damaging.

4.Damage from the elements

By this, we mean damage from physical environmental factors such as intense light, heat, and sound. Hearing loss is a very common occupational health issue. Working around sound higher than 100dB can cause this problem. The damage varies from insomnia and behavioral issues to loss of sensitivity in hearing and even permanent hearing loss. Usually, the more serious damages are irreversible.

Laborers and workers in hotter climates are prone to heatstroke. This serious condition can sometimes result in death if the affected persons do not receive proper shade and water.

Transporters and workers that must work in the sun can sometimes suffer from skin damage and facial disorders.

Among these issues, damage from noise can be easily ascribed to work for the legal process. Other problems might be a little more difficult to press.

5. Infectious Diseases

Medical personnel, first responders and lab scientists working on micro-organisms can come in contact with deadly forms of afflictions. HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Covid-19, anthrax, radioactive substances are a few of them.

The affected person can claim compensation because cause and effect are easy to establish in most cases.

Bloodborne diseases can spread due to incompetence or negligence while applying first aid, delivering injections and vaccines and poor disposal of associated items such as syringes at a workplace. The aggrieved might also claim compensation in this case.

To sum it all, you might have to face a wide range of occupational health hazards. However, in most cases, if you can show that the damage resulted directly from your job and not just by chance, you can take legal action. The job must also increase the risk of that condition than just the average environmental risk. The damage also must be a natural consequence associated with that occupation.