The Most Common Occupational Diseases

The Most Common Occupational Diseases

The Most Common Occupational Diseases

Occupational diseases are a very common, yet underestimated danger, in the workplace. While most people think about the potential repercussions of working with heavy machinery or falling from a ladder, many individuals do not think about the possibility of work-related diseases, especially given that their symptoms are not as visible as injuries. Nonetheless, occupational diseases should be treated with seriousness and attention. Let’s explore some of the occupational diseases that are most commonly seen in the workplace.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases are another type of prominent health conditions that an individual may develop from being in their workplace. The respiratory system is responsible for helping you breathe, bringing oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body. However, when your body is exposed to toxic substances and irritants such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, dust, ammonia, and nitrogen dioxide, respiratory issues can result. Respiratory illnesses are particularly common in the construction, mining, and welding industries, and are likely to occur in places where there is poor ventilation. Some respiratory illnesses that an individual may suffer due to unsafe workplace conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Silicosis
  • Asbestosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Skin Diseases

Another type of illness that is commonly developed in the workplace are skin diseases. Skin diseases are most prominent in individuals who are constantly exposed to chemicals or the sun. The two most common occupational skin disorders are contact dermatitis and skin cancer. Dermatitis, also known as eczema, is caused when the skin repeatedly comes in contact with chemical substances. Skin cancer, which can be either cancerous or non-cancerous, occurs when there is a change in how your skin cells grow, such as from exposure to ultraviolet light (the sun). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 18,960 deaths in 2019 from skin cancer that was caused by occupational exposure to the sun.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

One last prominent type of health condition developed in the workplace are musculoskeletal disorders. As described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), musculoskeletal disorders are soft tissue injuries caused by sudden or prolonged exposure to repetitive motions, force, vibration, or awkward positions. These disorders are most commonly seen in nurses, athletes, typists, butchers, cashiers, and warehouse workers, all of which are particularly labor intensive and physically demanding jobs. Some musculoskeletal injuries that an individual may suffer include:

  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Hernias
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

What To Do If You Have an Occupational Disease

If you believe that you may be suffering from an occupational disease, it is crucial that you seek medical assistance immediately. If left untreated, these occupational diseases have the potential to cause a number of life-long or even fatal effects. Once you have seen a medical professional and they have determined that you are in fact suffering from a work-related disease, you should inform your employer about your illness and file a California workers’ compensation form (DWC-1) within 30 days of being diagnosed. It is highly recommended to get help from a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney, as it can be difficult to prove that your disease was directly caused by your job. An attorney can help gather evident to prove causation as well as ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation and benefits for your occupational disease.