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6 Work-Related Diseases And Ways To Prevent Them

Image source There was a significant increase in public awareness of work-related injuries and diseases after the government started com...

Image source

There was a significant increase in public awareness of work-related injuries and diseases after the government started compensating civil servants for illnesses resulting from workplace hazards. While the awareness increased, occupational diseases continued to cause serious health problems, leading to a staggering number of deaths. Each year, an estimated 160 million occupational illnesses and about two million fatalities occur worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Workers suffer from occupational diseases (OD) as a result of hazardous workplace conditions. Workplace exposure levels and worker sensitivities determine the types of OD hazards. In addition to causing chronic illnesses, ODs may also be fatal without preventative measures.

Occupational safety and health programs are required by recent regulations to combat the dangers of occupational diseases. Following are some of the most common occupational diseases and some helpful advice on preventing them.

1.  Cancer - Mesothelioma

Across the United States, asbestos has been used for roofing, flooring, and insulation for decades. Several of these buildings are still operational. In the construction of these structures, workers suffered from asbestos exposure. Upon entering the lungs, these fibers can lodge, causing inflammation and scarring. These particles can eventually cause asbestos-related diseases, particularly mesothelioma. 

Mesothelioma is lung cancer and, unfortunately, has a 7.3% survival rate. If you’re already suffering from the disease, you can take all the necessary measures for cancer treatment. Regular follow-ups, blood tests, and a healthy diet are necessary steps in caring for yourself once diagnosed. Many people may not be able to deal with the loss financially. In that case, they can file a mesothelioma lawsuit and get financial compensation for their suffering plus treatment. If you’re unsure about mesothelioma lawsuit guidelines, hire an attorney to learn how settlements are determined. Your lawyer will determine your case value and demand a certain amount to provide you with the much-needed ease. 

How to prevent it?

If you haven’t been diagnosed with mesothelioma but doubt exposure to asbestos, you can take preventive measures. Construction workers are at the greatest risk of this disease because they work with materials that may contain asbestos. They can make sure their company provides all the necessary PPE, which can protect them from the asbestos fumes, like disposable coveralls, respirators, rubber gloves, and safety glasses. Moreover, they can ensure that they get adequate training before entering their field of work to protect themselves.

2.  Occupational Asthma

According to research, up to 15 percent of asthma cases are due to work-related factors. A common symptom of asthma is difficulty in breathing. It also causes chest tightness, coughing, and other symptoms associated with the respiratory system. The causes of occupational asthma encompass a diverse range of factors, from environmental irritants like chlorine and ammonia to allergic reactions to animals and materials.

People with different immune systems are affected differently by the disease. Excessive or constant exposure to asthma triggers can permanently damage the lungs.

How to get help?

It is possible to avoid factors that cause respiratory problems to prevent occupational asthma. An allergist or immunologist can answer and diagnose symptoms; they may suggest medications to alleviate breathing difficulties.

3. COVID-19 Exposure

Coronavirus is now part of the list of possible occupational diseases workers may contract in the workplace. According to OSHA's "Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19," some occupations naturally have higher exposure risk than others. The highest exposure risk is for healthcare and morgue workers.

Those exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19) at work must take the highest level of precautions.

How to Stay Safe?

In order to combat the spread of the highly contagious disease, governments and regulatory agencies have promoted COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Experts suggest frequent hand washing with an antiseptic handwash (in lieu of soap) for control and prevention. In addition, avoiding face contact, using proper etiquette when coughing or sneezing (covering your mouth), and recognizing personal risk factors are also necessary preventive steps.

4. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is the most common form of occupational skin disease caused by various factors, including chemicals, radiation, animals, plants, parasites, etc. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, thirteen million workers in the U.S. may be exposed to factors that can cause skin diseases.

In the United States, occupational skin diseases, such as contact dermatitis, or eczema, account for the majority of skin diseases. Itching, pain, redness, and flaky skin are common symptoms. 

Preventive measures

Cool dressings or medications like steroids are essential when contact dermatitis becomes too severe. It is possible to reduce the risk of skin diseases initially by applying sunscreen, dressing in protective clothing, and staying away from hazardous chemicals.

5. Loss of Hearing

Another major occupational disease is hearing loss resulting from the workplace, similar to contact dermatitis. NIOSH estimates nearly 22 million workers are exposed to noise levels above the Recommended Exposure Limit. Loud noises and ototoxic chemicals can cause occupational hearing loss. The symptoms range from mild to total loss of hearing.

How To Stay Safe From It? 

The best way to stay safe from occupational hearing loss is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Noise levels are regulated by health and safety professionals using the Hierarchy of Control. The best approach is to eliminate hazardous noise. Using personal protective equipment is the least effective method, followed by replacement, control, establishing, and setting limits.

6. Heat Illness

For workers exposed to direct sunlight or hot, stuffy areas, heat illness is a potentially serious occupational disease. A worker may develop heat illness if exposed to heat for a long time or to extreme heat for short periods.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 800 people died from heat-related illnesses between 1992 and 2017. The elderly, overweight, and those with heart disease are especially susceptible to heat illness. Its symptoms ranged from dizziness, nausea, and even fainting, to weakness, headaches, and sweating. 

Safety Measures

Heat illness can be avoided by staying hydrated, wearing light-colored clothing, and resting in shady places.


Occupational diseases have always been present, and new methods are being developed to reduce these hazards. The growing body of data shows that most accidents can be prevented by employers and workers. Relatively simple changes in the working environment, work procedures, management, and safety practices can reduce accident rates by 50% or more, even in high-risk industries, relatively quickly.