On-the-job injuries can occur suddenly or they can develop over time. Sometimes, a work-related injury is obvious, such as when a worker is struck by or against an object, or suffers a fall. Other injuries are less noticeable, their symptoms often nagging yet subtle, and not immediately attributable as an on-the-job injury. This is often the case when it comes to work-related respiratory disease. One of the most common types of job-related illness, respiratory and lung diseases can occur due to environmental hazards you work in, or as the result of job site conditions. Respiratory diseases cause serious damage, affect your ability to work or enjoy simple activities, and can even be fatal. It is not only important to be aware of the conditions that can lead to respiratory problems, but also to know what to do if you suspect you are suffering from this type of on-the-job injury.
Work Conditions Related To Respiratory Problems
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, exposure to environmental factors in the workplace can lead to a variety of serious and potentially debilitating respiratory problems. These types of health problems occur due to irritation of the lungs, throat, or breathing passages, and include ailments such as asthma, COPD, mesothelioma, lung infections, and even lung cancer. Respiratory illnesses often get progressively worse with time, and sufferers may eventually require hospitalization and be forced to rely on an oxygen tank to get the air their body needs to survive.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not only miners or workers exposed to asbestos who exhibit these kinds of health issues. Respiratory problems often occur in workers in the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing trades, and can even affect office workers who are exposed to hazardous substances through their work environment or their co-workers. Respiratory problems can occur anytime a worker is exposed to the following substances:
- Mold, dust, and other allergens;
- Fibers from insulation;
- Toxic fumes, gases, and vapors;
- Wood or cement dust; and/or
Even a co-worker’s smoking habit can result in the inhalation of harmful second hand smoke, and long term exposure may lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
What To Do If You Suffer Work-Related Respiratory Problems
According to the health information website FamilyDoctor.org, if you suffer respiratory problems that you suspect are associated with your job, you should visit your doctor immediately and make a list of the following information:
- The types of substances and materials you come into contact with at work;
- When your symptoms first appeared;
- How severe your symptoms are and how often they occur; and
- The days and times you work, and how long you are exposed to potentially hazardous substances on your job.
In addition, all employers are required by law to maintain material safety data sheets for any substances or products you may be working with. Ask for copies of these sheets and take them with you when you visit your doctor.
Let Us Help You Today
If you or a loved one is suffering a respiratory illness that you suspect is related to your job site, contact our experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover from your illness. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.