Occupational Disease Lawyers in Austin
Toxic Exposure at the Workplace
While physical, tangible danger is a reality at the workplace, there is something just as potentially harmful that cannot be seen. Thousands of workers each year are exposed to harmful levels of chemicals and particles that could cause chronic illnesses- some even fatal. Occupational disease usually comes in two major forms: skin and lung. Skin disease occurs when workers’ skin is directly exposed to harmful toxins, while lung diseases can occur when workers inhale or ingest a toxin. So who is at risk for developing these diseases? For one, those who work in any type of industrial occupation could be at risk. Those who work in the oil and gas industry could be exposed to harmful levels of gasoline as well as toxic fracking fluid, which is the chemical, sand and water mixture that is pressurized into the ground.
Those who work in the manufacturing industry could also be at risk. Manufacturing and construction workers could be exposed to harmful levels of lead and silica, among other things. Those who work in the railroad or transportation industries could be exposed to harmful levels of exhaust and benzene. These are just a few examples of industries that may be at risk for occupational diseases. Most people who develop these diseases in relation to their jobs are entitled to either workers’ compensation or another form of third party insurance provided by their employer.
Common Types of Work-Related Diseases
One of the most major types of occupational diseases is mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. For years, the harmful substance asbestos was heavily used in the manufacturing industry because it was both affordable and effective. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that asbestos was banned from use, but workers are still suffering the effects of it. Typically, it takes about 30 years from initial exposure to actually start to display symptoms. Asthma is another common, although much less deadly, disease. Occupational asthma is a particular kind of respiratory illness that causes tightness of breathing, wheezing and the like. There are at least 10 to 15 percent of Americans in the workforce who suffer from this type of asthma. There is also lead poisoning. There are many different causes of this disease, but occupational exposure is the leading cause.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations
The branch of the U.S. government that is responsible for regulating occupations is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). This division of the U.S. Department of Labor was established in 1970 in order to impose regulations that would hopefully decrease the number of illnesses and injuries that workers suffered annually. One of the things that this agency does is regulate safe levels of different substances. Employers are not allowed to have an exposure level that exceeds the standard safe level. If they do, then they would be liable for any worker disease that resulted from it. Employers are also responsible for providing their employees with the necessary safety equipment. This can include body suits, gloves, breathing masks and goggles.
Those who become ill while on the job may be unsure how the process works, since it differs significantly from being injured on the job. An injury is obvious, but it takes time to discover an illness and effort to prove that it was caused by exposure at the workplace. You need a Personal Injury attorney who is going to dedicate the time to investigate your claim so that you don’t get cut short of your deserved benefits. If you’ve developed an illness but are unsure of where to turn to or what steps to take next, please, contact Zinda Law Group today.