Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Six most common but fatal occupational illnesses everyone should know about

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As much as occupational life paves ways for success, well-being risks are also involved. For instance, the manufacturing and development industry constantly exposes workers to several injuries, given its physically challenging nature. 

It is a known fact that some organizations compromise on health and safety protocols, which increases a worker’s vulnerability to injury and illnesses. As a result, employees’ risk of psychological exhaustion and physical injuries or chronic diseases increases substantially. On top of that, employees’ non-compliance to safety guidelines further multiplies them.

Irrespective of causes, adherence to safety protocols is essential against potential occupational dangers. It could involve staying mindful of safety guidelines, using protective gear, practicing hygiene, and the like. 

With health insurance, you’re protected from unexpected and high medical costs. Some riskier professions may also require affiliation with legal protection as well. At the very least, you should enhance your awareness of the legal perspective and relevant protection against occupational illnesses.

In the following sections, let’s check some fatal occupational illnesses and necessary precautions against them.

  1. Lung cancer

Lung cancer is a severe disease acquired after exposure to harmful chemicals or substances. Exposure to metals like asbestos, cadmium, and arsenic can lead to other cancers, including mesothelioma. 

It is a terminal condition that severely affects the respiratory tract, especially the lungs. The disease is common in occupations that deal with chemicals and hazardous materials. 

Most of the time, its reasons relate to occupational negligence where organizations do not provide holistic safety to their employees. Whether it’s a result of professional negligence or mismanagement of a medical facility, Sokolove Law deals with diverse cases.

The firm deals with diverse cases, including hospital negligence, birth injuries, drug exploitation, and occupational illnesses. 

  1. Electric shock or electrocution

Generally, coming in contact with even a millimeter of current can cause pain and shock. An electric shock from a 75mA current source can paralyze a muscle. An electric shock above 75mA can cause death in a couple of minutes after exposure.

Usually, people in the power generation sector are more at risk of electrocution. However, anyone can come across such a situation, regardless of the occupational attachment. It is because electricity and electric appliances are pervasive, and so is the risk.

Thus do not underestimate the fatal consequences of mismanagement or carelessness while dealing with electricity. It is better to utilize protective protocols when handling or repairing malfunctions in electrical systems.

  1. Chemical poisoning

Careless or accidental exposure to chemicals can cause chemical poisoning. Mostly, hazardous substances are fatal if the person intakes a higher amount and fails to reach a healthcare facility on time. Such situations can lead to life and death struggles. Contact with substances like cyanide, whether solid or gaseous state, can cause immediate death

Additionally, long-term contact with dangerous substances can also build up their toxicity. In such cases, workers start to experience ranging symptoms over time. Symptoms can involve breathing issues, diarrhea, nausea, rashes, dry mouth or drooling, and abnormal size of pupils.

Mostly, manufacturing, farming, mining, paint, fabric, and construction industries have a higher risk of such incidents. Thus workers in these industries should harness their protection. First of all, knowledge of the poisoning, dangerous chemicals, and how to minimize contact is vital. 

Concerned organizations should also train workers regarding how to handle such chemicals attentively.

  1. Musculoskeletal injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries occur when workers exert repeated strain on one specific muscle. While doing so, they can twist or fracture their muscles, ligaments, nerves, and even bones.

As such, falls from heights and unsecured construction sites are some causes of musculoskeletal injury. Similarly, workers may also injure themselves while lifting or moving heavyweight objects. 

Lifting heavy objects or slipping incidents can hurt them severely. These kinds of injuries occur in an industrial environment.

Apart from that, workers in other physically challenging duties also experience musculoskeletal injuries. Frontline or emergency workers, such as nurses and paramedic staff, also experience such injuries. This is because emergencies do not give them time to brace themselves, and they end up moving beyond their body’s natural range of motion. 

Similarly, repeated movements for a longer duration also increase their chance of exhausting muscles and joints, leading to fractures and injuries. 

Regardless, musculoskeletal injuries can have dangerous outcomes on workers’ life. 

  1. Skin cancer

Extensive outdoor activities and exposure to intensive sunlight can lead to skin cancer. The ultraviolet rays from sunlight cause damage to genetic coding within cells (namely deoxyribonucleic acid). 

Prolonged exposure keeps on causing damage until the point when cells start malfunctioning. As a result, uncontrolled growth is one of the outcomes of cellular malfunctioning, forming malignancy.

Similarly, working under extreme temperatures can also trigger a similar response. Thus workers, for example, in the mining industry can also develop skin cancer. Additionally, contact with chemicals can irritate the skin, where frequent and unprotected exposure can lead to skin cancer.

Thus, professionals in the agricultural, manufacturing, and clothing industries are more prone to developing skin cancer. Other occupations with extensive open-air activities can also leave you vulnerable, which is why you should practice caution.

You can use sunblock (minimum SPF 30) creams or wear protective clothes, whatever is suitable for your work conditions. 

  1. Psychiatric disorders

Psychiatric disorders are one of the unattended occupational illnesses but equally life-threatening. Almost every profession has the potential to undermine workers’ psychological health. Thus there are several factors behind such illnesses.

As such, workload and responsibilities beyond workers’ capacity add to their psychological vulnerability. Unappreciative administration, absence of acknowledgment, and bullying at the workplace also exhaust workers and worsen their stress. 

Similarly, uncomfortable workplace settings also cause physical strain to workers, maximizing their psychological distress.

A variety of these factors and private matters, such as relations, poverty, and social outlooks, collectively maximize the chances of psychological disorders. As such, approximately 60% of the healthcare cost associated with psychiatric disorders is in the form of unproductivity and absenteeism.

As a result, organizations also bear the consequences of their negligence. At this point, it is apparent that almost every workplace has some or all of these risk factors. Though such issues may appear less threatening in the early days, their advanced stages can be terminal. 

For instance, exposure to extensive fatigue and stress along with an unsupportive work environment can lead to depression. In severe cases of depression, patients can also develop suicidal thoughts.  Therefore, organizations need to cater to mental health as much as they do to physical well-being. 

Conclusion

The discussion reveals that almost every occupation has some degree of risk associated. Yet, one has to assume professional life at some stage and deal with the consequences. In such cases, precaution and protection are crucial options to minimize risk. 

Otherwise, you will have to pay an unbearable and irrecoverable loss. Workplaces should also pay attention to workplace risks and implement essential safety measures.

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