Frequently exposure to certain chemicals at your workplace can cause a variety of problems to your health—namely your lungs. Certain cancers and diseases can develop as a result of long-term exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Because of the nature of their location, environment, and job duties, some jobs are more health-hazardous than others are.
Given the sometimes non-symptomatic nature of occupational diseases, you may not be aware that you have been infected until years into your job position, or after you have ended it. Being proactive about your health includes gaining awareness of health-related risks, and figuring solutions for prevention. Knowing which industries are high-risk for occupational diseases may provoke you to check with your doctor for these ailments.
In Georgia, the top industries responsible for thousands of work-related lung disease are (but, not exclusive to):
- Farmers – are at risk for a disease called “hypersensitivity pneumonitis,” or Farmer’s Lung. Farmer’s Lung is an allergic disease usually caused by breathing in the dust from moldy hay. However, dust from any moldy crop – straw, corn, silage, grain, or even tobacco – can also cause Farmer’s Lung.
- Construction Workers – are at continued risk for lung damage. Workers who demolish old buildings or do remodeling can be exposed to asbestos used as insulation around pipes or in floor tiles.
- Fire Fighters – are commonly exposed to smoke and other cancer-causing carcinogens.
- Oil and Gas Workers – are at risk for a disease called Silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable but entirely preventable disease caused by breathing in particles of sand — or respirable crystalline silica.
- Textile Manufacturing Workers – can be exposed to a disease called Byssinosis (brown lung disease). Workers can inhale particles released from cotton or other materials. When cotton is ripped apart, it creates huge amounts of dust and can cause significant airflow obstruction.
What Does This Mean?
Working in these industries may lead to a lifetime of lung problems if not properly diagnosed and treated. According to the American Lung Association, occupational lung diseases are the number one cause of work-related illness. Most occupational lung diseases are caused by repeated, long-term exposure, but even a severe, single exposure to a hazardous agent can damage the lungs. Occupational lung diseases are preventable, if your employer has followed regulations as according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
What Are the Sign for Occupational Lung Disease?
The following are the most common symptoms of lung diseases, regardless of the cause. However, each employee may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms include:
- Chest pain;
- Chest tightness;
- Coughing; and
- Difficulty breathing.
What Should I Do Next?
Workers’ compensation laws vary according to state. Consulting with an experienced Augusta workers’ compensation lawyer will be the first step to claiming the benefits you deserve. Augusta residents, if you have you are seriously suffering from health-related injuries, or have strong reason to believe that you have been exposed to an occupational disease, contact us at the law firm of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A today to schedule a FREE consultation. We will help you fight for your rights! Call us today or fill out your free case evaluation form!