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  • Work-Related Respiratory Diseases

    Allentown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on work-related respiratory diseases.Workers face a variety of job-related health hazards, and respiratory diseases are no exception. Most cases of work-related lung disease are 100% preventable, but irresponsible employers who fail to abide by federal safety and health regulations create catastrophic – and deadly – risks for hardworking American men and women. Already 25 million people in the U.S. have some type of lung disease, so taking precautions is critical.

    Types of Occupational Lung Disease

    There are many different types of work-related respiratory diseases, but here are a few examples of the most common:

    • Lung cancer. Workers exposed to silica, asbestos, and diesel exhaust fumes are at higher risk for developing lung cancer than others are.
    • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This condition happens when workers inhale certain substances that trigger inflammatory immune reactions in the lungs. Some of the substances known to trigger hypersensitivity pneumonitis are mold, bird protein, bacteria, and certain chemicals (like isocyanates),
    • Lung infections that are passed on from other infected workers, or come from sources in the workplace (e.g. a contaminated humidifier),
    • Work-related asthma. People who already have asthma often experience additional symptoms when exposed to known irritants and allergens, and others risk developing occupational asthma.
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Chronic exposure to metal fumes, organic dusts (like grains and woods), mineral dusts, diesel exhaust fumes, and chemical gases and vapors are known to lead to new or worsening cases of COPD in workers,
    • Bronchiolitis obliterans, or airway destruction. The inhalation of certain chemicals used to flavor products (e.g. diacetyl butter flavor) can result in airway obstruction that leads to severe obstructive lung disease and dangerous airway scarring, and:
    • Interstitial or fibrotic lung disease. There are different kinds of interstitial lung disease, such as silicosis, asbestosis, and coal workers pneumoconiosis. Many of these diseases result from the inhalation of mineral dusts like coat dust, metals, silica, and asbestos.

    Despite the fact that occupational respiratory diseases are known work hazards, employers regularly fail to protect workers from recognizable risks. If one worker is experiencing respiratory problems, other workers may be being unknowingly exposed to dangerous contaminants, also.

    Some general symptoms of occupational lung disease to watch out for include:

    • Shortness of breath;
    • Coughing;
    • Wheezing (or breathing noisily);
    • Difficulty breathing, and:
    • Lingering chest pain

    If you are exposed to industrial materials and are experiencing respiratory symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with a medical professional and get checked out right away.

    Employer Responsibility for Safe and Healthy Workplaces

    Employers are legally required to provide safe and healthy workplaces free from recognizable hazards. One way to do that is by implementing tried and tested control measures to protect workers. When it comes to guarding against occupational lung disease, there are many effective control measures employers should take. Employees should wear personal protective gear, like a respirator, when facing exposure risks. Other helpful control methods include reducing work exposure with up-to-date ventilation systems and replacing hazardous materials with safer alternatives.

    Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

    When a worker gets sick because of exposure in an unsafe workplace, he or she may want to speak with a lawyer about filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a state-based program that helps ill and injured workers. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can help provide peace of mind as medical bills and missed days from work pile up. To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim, please contact a representative at our firm directly.

    Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured at Work

    If you were injured at work, please contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.

    ALLENTOWN/BETHLEHEM
    610-865-4212

    LANCASTER
    717-824-3376

    READING
    610-376-1696