Modern health and safety might make us feel safer. But US labor statistics tell a sobering story about occupational health. At the last count, around 2.6 million Americans working in private companies had some form of occupational disease.
But what are occupational diseases? And how do you know if you’re at risk? We have all those answers for you in this article. Read on to discover more about occupational health and how it affects you.
What are Occupational Diseases?
Occupational diseases are health problems caused by work or working conditions. People can get sick from jobs such as construction, mining, or office work.
Common work-related diseases include lung problems from breathing in dust or chemicals. But other conditions include hearing loss from loud noise and muscle pain from repetitive tasks.
A List of Common Occupational Diseases
Depending on the job, many diseases could technically fall into the category of occupational-related. Here are some of the most common:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Lead poisoning
- Occupational asthma
- Repetitive strain injury
- Work-related stress
- Chemical dermatitis
- Vibration-induced disorders
Medical experts are finding new links every day between disease and work. So more issues and conditions will eventually appear on this list.
Common Symptoms of Occupational Diseases
Symptoms of occupational diseases can vary. But often include coughing, trouble breathing, and skin rashes. Some workers may have hand or wrist pain, while others might notice hearing loss.
People exposed to harmful chemicals could feel dizzy or sick to their stomachs. Stress from work can lead to headaches, tiredness, and mood changes.
If you think you have an occupational disease, you must talk to a doctor. They can help find the cause and suggest remedies or medicines to ease the symptoms.
Causes of Occupational Diseases
Occupational diseases happen when workers face harmful things in their jobs. These can be physical, like heavy lifting, or chemical, like breathing in toxic fumes. Sometimes, loud noise or constant vibrations can cause problems.
Work conditions like a hot or cold environment might lead to illness. Stressful jobs can also result in health issues, as can high-pressured work environments.
Prevention & Treatment of Occupational Diseases
Preventing occupational diseases starts with identifying risks at work.
Employers should provide training, like this respiratory protection training online. They must also provide adequate safety equipment to keep workers safe.
Regular health check-ups can catch problems early. Workers can also learn to use tools and machines correctly to avoid injury.
If someone gets an occupational disease, they should see a doctor. Treatment depends on the illness but may include medicine, physical therapy, or counseling.
In some cases, changing jobs or work tasks might be necessary. Employers and employees can create a healthier, safer workplace by working together.
Protecting Yourself from Occupational Illnesses
When working or starting a new job, you must understand the risks. If you are worried about occupational diseases, speak to your employer. They have a duty of care to you.
For more information on work-related issues, visit our business section now.