When people think of workers’ compensation claims, construction accidents, workplace falls, and carpal tunnel syndrome often come to mind. But work-related illnesses may also involve compensation. From fatal cancers to hearing loss, these conditions have less media exposure and harder to prove but are equally important.
Two fatal illnesses are recognized as solely or predominantly work-related:
- Mesothelioma— a cancer of the lining of the lung, that increasingly claims the lives of hundreds of people each year and usually is caused by asbestos exposure. Employees most at risk work in insulation, HVAC, plumbing, sheetmetal, and boilermaking.
- Pneumoconosis is a lethal respiratory disease that includes asbestosis, coal worker’s pneumoconosis, silicosis, and other variations. Victims often work in mining, insulation, plumbing, pipefitting, boilermaking, sheetmetal, HVAC, metal and plastic processing, and textiles.
Leading non-fatal occupational illnesses include:
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
- Skin Diseases, including allergic and irritant dermititis, skin cancer and other skin conditions
- Respiratory Disorders, from potentially deadly dirt diseases of the lungs (silicosis, asbestosis, coal worker’s pneumoconoisis) to asthma, chronic bronchitis and COPD
- Heatstroke, sunstroke, frostbite, and other conditions caused by environmental factors, as well as exposure to other ionizing and nonionizing radiation
- Poisoning from lead and other heavy metals, toxic gases, chemical solvents, pesticides and formaldehyde
Manufacturing employees lead the nation with both the highest number and highest rate of non-fatal work-related illnesses. But healthcare workers are at increasingly significant risk of illness through exposure to infectious diseases, chemicals and other irritants, and workplace violence.
If you receive a diagnosis for any illness or injury that you believe may be work-related, contact us immediately at 312.357.8000