The Toxic Work Environment
Identification of and Recovery for Industrial Diseases
This past summer, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that its joint investigation with the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) unveiled a resurgence of a deadly disease that plagues coal miners. Apparently, the mining industry and federal regulators have known for more than two decades that coal miners were breathing excessive amounts of the coalmine dust that causes black lung [disease].
Although many jobs come with a certain level of risk, some carry additional hazards that make it the employer’s responsibility to take sufficient safety precautions. These should include providing adequate protection from toxins through, for example, use of protective clothing and breathing apparatus, and sufficient hearing protection to those who are exposed to excessively loud noises.
Failure to protect you from exposure to chemicals, fumes, noises and vibrations may cause disabling or deadly conditions, which include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Occupational Hearing Loss. Any level of hearing loss, sometimes accompanied by noise in the ear, caused by exposure to very loud or high-intensity sound (machinery or loud music above 90 dB). It is the most common work-related injury in the U.S., affecting around 22 million people
- Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Lung diseases caused by high intensity or long-term exposure to asbestos fibers. It generally takes many years to develop the initial symptoms, such as shortness of breath
- Vibration White Finger. Caused by the continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery, such as power tools. Symptoms include tingling or numbness in your fingers and/or loss of manual dexterity
- Occupational Stress. Ongoing physical, mental or emotional stress in the workplace, such as excessive hours and workload, co-worker or management harassment, and lack of opportunity for advancement. May result in emotional and physical disorders
If you have a disease or disorder that may have been caused by your work, you may be able to make an industrial injury claim against your employer for past and future pain and suffering, anticipated loss of future earnings, and equipment needed to function better (e.g., hearing aids). Don’t delay. Call our office today for a consultation.