Top Five Construction Site Occupational Diseases

by | Dec 27, 2021 | Construction Accidents, Injuries

Most people associate workplace injuries with falls and other incidents. So, occupational diseases are often overlooked. Furthermore, occupational diseases are often underreported. Employers usually report these incidents, and many employers are quick to blame outside causes for these illnesses. They do not want to accept responsibility for them.

Even if a non-work condition partially caused your occupational disease, a Lexington personal injury attorney can still obtain substantial compensation for these victims. These victims badly need this compensation, as in many cases, these occupational diseases could cost tens of thousands of dollars to successfully treat.

Hearing Loss

Partial deafness is by far the most common occupational disease in Kentucky. Employees in very noisy environments, like airport runways, normally get ear protection. Employees in quieter environments often get no protection, even though the risk of injury is almost equally as high. Long-term exposure to sounds as low as 35 decibels, which is basically a lawnmower engine, could cause permanent hearing loss.

If victims get treatment straightaway, a simple hearing aid could address the problem. But most people do not seek treatment immediately. As a result, the noise often damages their inner ears. At that point, only invasive surgery is an option, and there are no guarantees about results.

Incidentally, victims do not have a legal responsibility to report their occupational diseases, such as hearing loss, until they know the full extent of their injuries and they connect those injuries to their work environments.

Breathing Problems

Speaking of lawnmower engines, landscaping workers are among the most vulnerable victims in this area. In addition to hearing loss, breathing problems are usually an issue. When organic waste, like yard clippings, comes in contact with a strong heat source, like a gasoline engine, the chemical fusion releases benzene fumes. When victims breathe these fumes, they burn the lungs, causing scar tissue to build up and block air passageways.

Indoor workers are at risk for breathing problems as well. Frequently, filtered air is dirtier than outside air, mostly because of the mold and bacteria which often accumulate in HVAC machines.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Indoor white-collar workers are also at risk for repetitive stress injuries, mostly carpal tunnel syndrome and vision problems.

CTS usually happens if people type with their wrists below their elbows. That position collapses the carpal bone tunnel in the wrists. A bundle of nerves passes through this tunnel, and when the bone pinches them, extreme pain begins in the shoulders. Because the pain is so far away from the wrists, doctors often do not immediately and properly diagnose this problem. Computer Vision Syndrome is a similar problem. Over time, staring at the blue light emanating from a computer screen for hours a day could damage the eyes.

Outdoor workers are at risk as well. Many of these employees spend a lot of time bending, stooping, and reaching. These maneuvers are very hard on knees, ankles, elbows, and other joints. The human body can only take so much of this abuse.

Cancer

The aforementioned benzene fumes could also cause cancer. Asbestos is another potential workplace toxin. One microscopic fiber could cause mesothelioma, a rare form of heart-lung cancer which is very aggressive and very difficult to treat. Asbestos is common in older buildings.

The survival rate for this disease has improved significantly since the 1990s, mostly due to medical advances. Unfortunately, these advances are usually only available if doctors promptly and properly diagnose the disease. And, the mesothelioma latency period could be as long as fifty or sixty years. So, these victims are often sick for decades before they see doctors. At that point, little can be done.

Heart Disease

Occupational-related heart disease affects workers in several different professions in several different ways.

High-stress workers, mostly first responders, are at risk for heart disease. The psychological stress creates a chemical imbalance in the heart muscle. Making matters worse, these workers experience extreme stress intermittently. For example, police officers might drive on patrol for several hours, and then suddenly have to arrest a violent suspect.

The heart disease statistics are even more alarming for firefighters. According to one study, heart disease accounts for almost half of firefighter deaths that occur in the line of duty.

Substances, such as asbestos, could also cause heart disease. Silica dust is a problem as well. Construction workers are often exposed to both these substances. Mostly because they sit for such long periods of time, truck drivers also have high heart disease rates.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers