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What are occupational illnesses?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

Residents of Minnesota expect to stay safe while they’re at work. However, some jobs can lead to occupational illnesses if there are hazards.

What to know about occupational illnesses

Occupational illnesses are illnesses that can develop in the workplace as a result of exposure or an event. Sometimes, they can lead to a preexisting condition worsening. Occupational illnesses often affect a person’s breathing, but they can also affect the skin or involve musculoskeletal disorders through repetitive injuries.

Each year, millions of people in the workforce suffer occupational illnesses at work. Many of those illnesses go unreported. Those that are reported often result in the person missing time off from work to recover, and some workers end up being transferred to different jobs where their responsibilities are restricted.

What are examples of common occupational illnesses?

There are various types of occupational illnesses that can affect workers. Respiratory conditions like asthma, COPD and pneumonia can occur when a person has regular exposure to toxic chemicals, dust, fumes, vapors or gases.

Hearing loss is a common example of occupational illness. It can develop over time when a worker is in an environment with continuous loud noise exposure. Individuals who work in noisy environments like airports, train yards and construction can suffer hearing loss.

Some occupational illnesses involve the skin. Exposure to chemicals and other substances can lead to the development of rashes, eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin conditions.

People who work with toxic substances, gases, metals, agents and other substances in the workplace can suffer from occupational illnesses caused by poisoning. These illnesses can develop when people come into contact with dangerous substances through touching, inhaling or ingesting them.

In addition, those who work in medical settings, enclosed areas and outdoors in extreme weather are often impacted by occupational illnesses. Employers have a duty to keep their employees as safe as possible and to provide workers’ compensation if employees are affected by hazards on the job.