Based on the frequency, severity, and preventability of the illnesses, occupational lung diseases are the number one cause of occupation-associated illness in the United States.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Pneumoconiosis is a general term given to any lung disease caused by dusts and bacteria that are breathed in and then deposited deep inside the lungs causing damage. Occupational lung diseases include asbestosis, silicosis, and coal workers pneumoconiosis, also known as “Black Lung Disease.”
Virtually no industry is 100% safe from its workers contracting these illnesses, but some sectors are far more dangerous than others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metal fabrication industry — which can be extremely dangerous — is projected to grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026.
Sadly, workers across the country have to constantly be aware of the dangers of breathing in contaminants and they can’t always rely on the protective gear they’re using to keep them safe. According to the Miami Herald, a South Florida business named The Protective Group faces $92,820 in fines after a federal agency stated the company didn’t protect its workers from breathing hazards and amputations.
The Protective Group is one of the brand sunder Point Blank Enterprises’ umbrella, which is a Pompano Beach business that manufactures protective equipment and attire for military and law enforcement.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) website states:
“Workers who inhale these very small crystalline silica particles are at an increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases,” such as lung cancer, kidney problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and silicosis, an incurable lung disease.
From Upstate New York to South Florida, here are some of the most common occupational diseases and illnesses found across the country:
Occupational Lung Diseases
- Sick building syndrome
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
- Lung cancer
Occupational Skin Conditions
- Skin cancer
- Allergic dermatitis
- Irritant dermatitis
- Infections of the skin
- Chemical burns
Additionally, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is another fairly common condition that is most often found in people who whose work involves making repetitive movements.
Although some of these workplace risks aren’t as dangerous as others, it’s imperative that every business is doing all it can to ensure the safety of its community’s workforce. It’s even more essential that the companies responsible for manufacturing safety equipment items remain mistake-free.