Many people incur injuries at their place of employment — and file workers’ compensation claims — without ever experiencing an accident.
Occupational diseases injure these employees. The environments they work in or the activities they do there cause their health problems.
Common occupational diseases
Respiratory diseases are often workplace-related. There are hundreds of chemicals used in manufacturing that cause asthma. Employees also breathe in dust, toxic fumes, and fibers.
Musculoskeletal disorders can include injuries caused by repetitive movement, by non-ergonomic workstations, by lifting too much, and by performing physical tasks in awkward ways or for too long without taking a break.
Cancer is a major cause of workplace-related deaths. Specific industries are often associated with specific cancers, based on the carcinogenic chemicals used.
Hearing loss is a common occupational disease for factory and construction laborers. It is also a problem for those whose jobs take place in noisy public spaces, such as bartenders and hospital employees.
More occupational diseases
If people who do a particular kind of job experience particular health conditions more than other people do, those health conditions are probably considered occupational diseases.
Healthcare, lab, and even social workers risk contracting infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. Contact dermatitis, which is common in many work environments, can cause chronic skin diseases.
High-pressure jobs can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health problems that may qualify as occupational diseases, as in law enforcement or military roles.
When working injures employees’ health, workers’ compensation laws can help provide a fair resolution.