Do You Know What Occupational Exposure Is?
Occupational exposure injuries occur when working conditions cause a worker to develop an illness or disease due to the exposure to toxic chemicals, substances, noise, or radioactive materials in their line of work.
When workers inhale contaminants over the course of their job, they may suffer from diseases further down the road. It may also refer to exposure to substances that are touched, absorbed through the skin, or ingested accidentally.
This type of injury is many times the result of years of dedication and hard work in a dangerous environment. These conditions frequently develop at a slow pace which leaves the victim confused as to what their injuries are resulting from, and they do not connect them to the work they have performed.
Examples of occupational exposure:
Chemical Exposure. Comes from breathing in dust, fumes, asbestos, or other harmful chemicals for an extended period of time. Factory workers, warehouse workers, industrial workers, and those working in enclosed spaces are at risk.
Repetitive lifting. Involves jobs where repeated lifting is required. Packing, loading, unloading, nursing home orderlies, nurses, warehouse workers, and construction workers are all examples. Repetitive lifting may result in chronic pain in the back, legs, shoulders, knees or feet.
Repetitive motion. Includes jobs that require repetitive motions of the wrists or hands. Embroiders, assembly line workers, secretaries, mechanics, and food preparation employees are all required to use repetitive motion. This exposure may result in carpal tunnel syndrome of the wrists, arthritis, or chronic pain in the hands or arms.
Consequences of occupational exposure
Occupational diseases and injuries are common consequences of exposure to toxic substances. Workers who have experienced chemical exposure can develop:
- Brain damage
- Pulmonary burns, scars and other lung injuries
- Reduced reproductive and sexual capacity
- Skin scarring and disfigurement
- Eye injuries
- Parkinson’s disease
Approximately 20,000 cancer deaths and 40,000 new cases of cancer each year in the United States are attributable to occupation according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Many workers are aware they are being exposed to chemicals, but they are unaware of the cancer-causing risks associated with it.
Common Occupational Cancers
Mesothelioma- caused by asbestos exposure
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) – benzene exposure
Bone disease and liver cancer- vinyl chloride exposure
Bladder cancer- working in rubber, chemical, and leather industries
Common Occupational Exposure Substances
Levels of exposure to certain toxic substances vary depending on the industry. Workers should be informed of the risks of exposure that are associated with their work before they begin training. Some common occupational exposure substances include:
- Fungus, molds, and bacteria
- Sawdust and other fine dust physical by-products
- Various chemicals such as asbestos or silica
- Heated metal substances
Some common jobs with known risks of occupational diseases are listed below.
- Ship Building
- Power plants, refineries, and industrial settings
- Pipefitters and plumbers
- Textile Industry
- Auto Mechanics
- Railroad workers
What is being done to correct the problem?
In 1971, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in an effort to help control occupational exposure to harmful substances. Past occupational hazard lawsuits have shown some industries have failed to warn their employees of the risk of workplace cancer only because of the economic implications such as purchasing safety gear, higher salaries, and mandatory employee resting periods.
Do I need an Occupational Exposure Attorney?
In many instances, a medical condition brought on by overexposure to harmful substances or toxins is not identified until long after the damage is done. If you have a medical condition or a disease that was brought on from prolonged hours in an unhealthy work environment, you may be entitled to compensation.
Many people believe the only compensation available for work-related diseases is through worker’s compensation. What they are not aware of is that it is also possible to file a third-party liability claim against a party responsible for the disease or conditions suffered.
Occupational disease claims are complex and require strict proof. Since toxic exposure at work can take years to develop into illness, it will be difficult to prove that the illness is a work-related illness. Since the defendants for this type of matter are typically well-funded corporations, it is critical to obtain aggressive legal representation. An experienced Occupational Exposure Attorney will have the knowledge and tools to guide you through the process of recovering for your medical bills, additional treatment needed, loss of wages, and more.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disease, been harmed, or lost a loved one due to occupational exposure, we are ready to assist and invest in your case. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we are committed to getting our clients the compensation they are entitled to in the most efficient manner possible. We understand and will take into account how your condition may affect your future ability to work and enjoy your everyday life. We are available 24/7 because we care, we can help.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
- Written by Adriana Torres