Occupational Respiratory Illness
When it comes to health hazards, issues arising in the respiratory system are serious. Initially, symptoms such as a cough may seem mild, however, left unmanaged respiratory health concerns can become fatal. If you believe you have been exposed to chemicals, fumes, dust, or other irritant that is causing problems with your breathing, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim and getting checked out by your employer’s designated health care professional. In addition, it is important to have a highly competent Anne Arundel County lawyer who can provide you legal advice and represent you should your company refuse your claim.
Types of Respiratory Conditions Seen in Workplaces
Respiratory conditions are often associated with construction and manufacturing jobs, however, almost any job can expose an employee to poor air quality and pollutants. The most common diseases that lead to workers’ compensation claims are:
Pneumoconiosis – Pneumoconiosis is caused by inhaling small dust particles such as silica, asbestos, coal dust, and certain minerals that irritate the lungs. The symptoms of pneumoconiosis depend on the type of dust particle and the size of the particle. Cases of pneumoconiosis take years to develop and can eventually cause a premature death.
Lung Cancer – According to the World Health Organization, every 10th case of lung cancer can be attributed to workplace conditions. Painting, roofing, welding, foundry work, and rubber manufacturing all expose workers to substances that can lead to lung cancer such as radon, asbestos, diesel exhaust, and more.
Mesothelioma – This is a severe cancer that can affect the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It takes years of exposure to asbestos to develop but the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center states that once diagnosed a person typically has a life expectancy of six months to a year. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fluid buildup in the lungs.
Pneumonia – This is a more common and treatable infection of the lungs, but it can still cause an employee to miss time at work. While anyone can have pneumonia, the risk of contracting it increases when a worker is exposed to certain work conditions or is surrounded by coworkers who also have pneumonia.
Tuberculosis – Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that can be spread from person to person. If a person works in a healthcare field their chances of getting tuberculosis increases. People who already have a weakened immune system are also more likely to contract tuberculosis, which means people who already have a lung irritation from exposure to hazardous work conditions will be more susceptible to this disease.
Other Conditions – There are other respiratory conditions that can impact individuals when they are in work conditions that are hazardous and are not given proper safety gear and training. If you believe you are suffering from a respiratory condition you should notify your employer and start the process for a workers’ compensation claim.
Call Maryland Workers’ Compensation Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
If you are concerned your workplace has put you at risk for a respiratory condition, you should speak to a lawyer who can help assess your case. Lung diseases and asthma can be hard cases to make workers’ compensation claims for because employers will try to say the condition developed due to unrelated causes. However, the repercussions of being exposed to chemicals, toxins, dust particles, or other irritants at work can be fatal. A workers’ compensation claim will help pay for lost wages, medical bills, and a diminished quality of life.
At Frame & Frame, our Anne Arundel County, Maryland lawyers are committed to helping you. Contact us at 410-255-0373 to schedule a free initial consultation.