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The Most Common Types of Occupational Diseases

Occupational diseases are illnesses resulting from the conditions or hazards that occur in specific work environments. These issues can emerge due to a variety of workplace exposures, ranging from chemical inhalants to repetitive stress injuries. Recognizing the common types of occupational diseases is vital, as it informs employees about potential risks in their workspaces and provides critical insights for employers aiming for improved safety standards. The following are some of the most common types:

Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Diseases

Mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases are closely linked to the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers, a group of minerals previously widely used in various industries due to their heat resistance and insulation properties. Asbestos exposure is notably associated with mesothelioma – an aggressive cancer affecting the lining of the lungs or abdomen.

Asbestosis is another concerning condition related to these microscopic fibers where they settle in lung tissue over time leading to scarring, causing significant lung impairment such as fibrosis. Lung cancer rates are also more prevalent among individuals exposed repeatedly.

Affected occupations mainly include construction and manufacturing workers but extend to a range of tradespeople who encountered asbestos-containing materials. Before strict regulations were imposed, industries such as shipbuilding, automotive maintenance, insulation production and installation, and railroad work also had high rates of exposure.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases like occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are significant concerns for workers exposed to certain irritants in their workplace. Occupational asthma is a form of this breathing disorder directly caused or aggravated by inhaling fumes, gasses, dust, or other potentially harmful substances on the job.

Industries where there’s an elevated risk include woodworking due to sawdust exposure. Similarly, textile manufacturing might expose workers to cotton dust or synthetic fibers increasing the risks considerably.

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders also account for a sizable portion of occupational diseases – chemical burns and contact dermatitis being fairly frequent. Contact dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact with certain substances, can lead to symptoms like redness, itching, and sometimes painful blistering.

Chemicals or irritants causing such reactions aren’t uncommon in numerous workplaces. High-risk occupations include healthcare, hairdressing, and chemical handling roles. Appropriate protective measures are crucial in these professions for minimizing risks associated with occupational skin disorders.

Hearing Loss

Occupational hearing loss is a pervasive health issue tied to continual exposure to high noise levels in the workplace. Over time, loud noises can detrimentally impact the auditory system, leading to total or partial deafness in some cases if precautionary measures are not applied.

Commonly impacted professions encompass those where loud sounds are continuous or frequent, such as construction sites, manufacturing plants, and those involved in the music industry. 

Hearing loss is a concern for military personnel as well, as they may face repeated exposure to loud artillery or aircraft noises.

Infectious Diseases

Working in certain environments may place employees at a higher risk for infectious diseases. Healthcare workers, particularly doctors and nurses, can be exposed to infections, such as tuberculosis or Hepatitis via sharp objects or contact with patients’ bodily fluids.

Workers dealing with animals – like veterinarians and farmers – may also face risks from zoonotic diseases (those transmissible from animals to humans).

If you find yourself suffering from an occupation-related disease, it’s vital to have a knowledgeable Los Angeles occupational disease attorney by your side who can help determine if you’re eligible for compensation. Overcoming legal obstacles while dealing with health issues can be stressful, but we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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