Working in the construction industry can be extremely hazardous to the safety and health of those employed in this profession. Construction work is consistently rated as the field in which the most occupational injuries occur each year in the United States. Additionally, many of these injuries are far more serious than those experienced in many other career fields. However, one of the most potentially dangerous forms of damage that a construction worker may face as a result of their working conditions is the possibility of developing an occupational disease.
Depending on the exact nature of a construction worker’s field of work and the conditions in which they operate, there are a number of different occupational diseases which may threaten their health. These diseases can have disastrous consequences for the health and well-being of a construction worker and can significantly affect their personal finances, including their ability to support their families. For these reasons, it may be necessary to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if you are a construction worker who has developed a medical condition as a result of your job.
Common Types of Occupational Diseases
More than most other types of employment, workers in the construction industry face the risk of a wide range of different occupational diseases, particularly when their employer acts negligently. Some of the most common of these occupational diseases include the following:
- Silicosis – this disease is caused by inhalation of silica dust over a long period of time, during which the particles accumulate in the lungs and scar lung tissues.
- Metal poisoning – this condition is caused by contact with certain types of metals, particularly lead, cadmium, and beryllium, which are frequently used in the construction industry, and can cause damage to lungs, kidneys, and the respiratory tract.
- Chronic obstructive lung diseases – these diseases include chronic bronchitis and emphysema and are caused by long term exposure to dust and other particles which may obstruct a person’s breathing.
- Manganism – this disease is caused by excessive exposure to manganese fumes, which are often a by-product of the work conducted by welders and boilermakers.
These are just some of the many different occupational diseases which construction workers are at risk of contracting as a result of their occupations.
Causes of Occupational Diseases
Occupational diseases in the construction industry may be caused by many different factors. Some of the most common of these include the following:
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Poorly ventilated working environments
- Excessive stress on neurological systems
- Lack of proper safety equipment
These and other factors can increase the likelihood that a construction worker will develop an occupational illness or condition. Depending on the nature of the disease and how it may have been caused, a number of different parties may be held liable for a worker’s suffering. Workers who find themselves in this difficult position should discuss the details of their situation with a qualified legal professional in order to determine their legal rights and options and what they should do to get the compensation they likely need.