4 Dangerous types of occupational diseases you should know about
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

4 Dangerous types of occupational diseases you should know about


4 Dangerous types of occupational diseases you should know about

Safety training and measures can minimize accidents at work, but they can still happen despite our best efforts.

Safety training and measures can minimize accidents at work, but they can still happen despite our best efforts. Construction, factories, and other industrial environments are more likely to cause accidents than office workers because of overexertion or repetitive stress injuries.

Since the state and federal governments began compensating civil employees for health complications resulting from workplace hazards in the early 1900s, public awareness about work-related injuries and diseases has increased.

However, despite growing awareness among the public, work-borne conditions continued to cause long-term damage, including an extraordinarily high number of deaths each year.

Some workplace conditions may put workers at risk of occupational diseases (O.D.s). O.D. hazards are classified according to the work environment, the degree of exposure, and the worker's sensitivity.

If left untreated or preventative measures aren't taken, occupational diseases can lead to death. In recent years, regulations have required most employers to implement occupational health and safety programs to eliminate the dangers of occupational diseases.

With that said, let's look at some common examples of occupational diseases.

Most Common Occupational Diseases

Many reportable occupational diseases are generally caused by exposure to specific environments, substances, or chemicals. Some of these occupation-related diseases are:

Pulmonary Diseases

A significant number of people worldwide die from lung diseases caused by occupational exposure. This is because most people were subjected to dust, fumes, or gases for many years at their workplace.

Breathing in these materials can result in severe and long-term lung diseases such as asbestosis, COPD, Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, silicosis, asthma, and cancer.

Some industries and occupations are at greater risk than others. For instance, people who work in construction, stonework, textiles, or welding are at risk of contracting lung disease.

Farmers who handle grain or feed their animals are exposed to dust while doing their tasks. They're exposed to harmful vapors from the chemicals they use on farms. Later in life, this may lead to asthma and/or chronic bronchitis.

As a construction worker, you should be aware of different lung diseases. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, and occupational asthma are among them.

COVID-19 Exposure at Work

COVID-19 was added to the list of potential occupational diseases workers can contract at their workplace. Based on OSHA's "Occupational Exposure Risk to COVID-19," some professions have a higher vulnerability than others, with healthcare and morgue workers in the top spot.

In the workplace, people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) should take added precautions. An individual's exposure risk decreases if they're around fewer people.

Governments and regulatory agencies have promoted COVID-19 prevention guidelines to combat the highly contagious virus spread.

For example, a topic on the OSHA website devoted to "Control and Prevention" emphasizes frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer usage (when soap isn't available), avoiding facial contact, respiratory etiquette (covering mouth when coughing or sneezing), and recognizing personal risk factors.

Occupation-related hearing loss

Occupational hearing loss is also common in the workplace. Nearly 22 million workers are exposed to noise levels above the Recommended Exposure Limit (REL).

Loud noises and ototoxic chemicals can cause occupational hearing loss. Patients can experience mild hearing impairment to severe hearing loss.

According to NIOSH, the REL for 8 hours is 85 decibels or less. In general, workers should not be exposed to noise that exceeds 85 decibels, preferably for any duration, especially not for over eight hours.

Chemical autotoxins may also affect workers' hearing, such as organic solvents and fumigants.

You can prevent occupational hearing loss through prevention if noise levels are regulated using the Hierarchy of Control by health and safety professionals. The most effective way to regulate noise levels is to eliminate hazardous noise.

Particulate lead poisoning

Those working around or near lead also suffer from occupational diseases. These jobs include boat building, smelting lead, glazing pots, removing paint, and pipefitting.

Lead dust exposure can lead to serious health problems such as fertility problems, kidney problems, and brain damage.

Lead circulates in the blood before collecting in the bones if it is absorbed. Many years can pass before a worker with lead poisoning experiences symptoms. Symptoms include nausea, weight loss, memory impairment, and stomach pain.

Our bodies can absorb lead not only through breathing but also through eating, drinking, smoking, and biting our nails.

Therefore, those who work with or around lead should have a designated eating area and should wash their hands properly before eating.

Contact Dermatitis

Skin diseases, such as contact dermatitis, are common occupational diseases caused by allergens, irritants, chemicals, temperatures, radiation, mechanical labor, plants, animals, and parasites.

As per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in the U.S., 13 million workers are exposed to factors that may cause skin diseases, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The most common occupational skin disease in the U.S. is occupational contact dermatitis, or eczema, which appears as skin inflammation.

Symptoms may include redness, itching, and flaky skin. These conditions are easily treated and prevented.

In case of severe contact dermatitis, cool and damp dressings, allergy medications, and steroid therapy may be required.

Sunscreen, protective clothing, and avoiding hazardous irritants can reduce exposure to complex variables and prevent the development of skin disease.

The Takeaway

Controlling worker exposure to hazardous substances is crucial. Therefore, it is a good idea to educate your staff on preventing these diseases and perhaps update your H&S policy.

Providing safety equipment and conducting regular risk assessments are also feasible options. Keep your staff on the lookout for signs that they may have of one or more of these diseases.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments