Are Occupational Diseases Widespread?

High profile illnesses associated with work usually include interstitial fibrosis due to inhalation of asbestos or coal particles. Even if not fatal, many other and widespread occupational diseases in North Carolina affect workers’ lives to the point where they can hardly keep on working, are constantly in pain and become impaired.

Apart from interstitial fibrosis, other respiratory illnesses include asthma, caused by animal and plant products, wood dust and some chemicals, and bronchitis, caused by acids, smoke or nitrogen oxides. Less crippling but more widespread is the so-called sick building syndrome, an upper airway irritation resulting from indoor air pollution. This is quite frequent in tightly insulated buildings that constantly recycle conditioned air with an insufficient fresh air supply.

Depending on the nature of work, far more diseases can spring from a worker’s execution of specific tasks, repeated daily over many years or decades. Health care or prison workers can be exposed to infections, like hepatitis or tuberculosis. Some activities in plastics and chemical manufacturing, steel works, recycling and construction may lead to cancer or reproductive abnormalities. Many occupations, like hairdressing, health care or food processing could lead to skin diseases.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition of the median nerve in the wrist resulting in numbness of some fingers, is frequently associated with physical work involving repetition, vibration, awkward postures and cold temperature.

For North Carolina workers, occupational diseases can have dramatic consequences on their private and professional lives. Because there is no direct link to a specific event (accident), some diseases will be harder to prove than others as being a direct result of a professional occupation.

It is certainly recommended for workers suffering from occupational illness or injuries to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before filing a claim.

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Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-7994 or send us an e-mail for a free, no commitment discussion of your case.