An occupational respiratory disease is caused by exposure to a dangerous substance while on the job. It can be mild or very severe, and some cases are even fatal.
One of the main problems with these types of exposure is that they happen gradually over time. Many workers do not recognize the dangers or harm the way that they would with a one-time event or an accident. They may assume that the disease has some other cause, even though it is related to their employment.
To help raise awareness, seven examples of these diseases are:
- Black Lung Disease, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
- Farmers’ Lung, usually called allergic alveolitis
In some cases, exposure may be illegal. For instance, asbestos used to be legal for use in insulation, but it no longer is. If a company is renovating a building to bring it up to code and fails to take the proper precautions when dealing with asbestos and other hazards, workers could get exposed to deadly substances without their knowledge.
In other cases, the exposure is a completely legal hazard of the job. For example, asbestos removal teams have to work with this harmful substance every day. They are supposed to be given proper training and equipment to keep them safe.
Either way, a disease like this can have dramatic, long-lasting health ramifications. It can lead to incredibly high medical bills and could even make it impossible for the worker to continue doing their job. When this happens, it is important for those workers to fully understand all of their legal rights.