Most Common Occupational Diseases

May 3, 2019

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, most Pennsylvania employees are eligible to receive compensation for their work-related injuries. Those who develop occupational diseases due to repeated exposure to harmful substances in the workplace may also be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Occupational disease claims differ from regular work injury claims in several ways. Therefore, it is important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible if you suspect that your disease was caused by toxic workplace exposure.

What Causes Occupational Disease?

Depending on the industry, workers may be exposed to various chemicals that can cause occupational diseases. Construction workers, mechanics, painters, landscapers, and other types of workers are at high risk for exposure to dangerous substances in the workplace, including dust, fumes, pesticides, fibers, and other irritants. Typically, an occupational disease develops gradually, with repeated exposure. A worker may not become aware of its development until years, sometimes decades, later.

Workers often develop occupational diseases because their employers failed to take the proper safety precautions or failed to adequately train them on how to handle dangerous chemicals at work. However, regardless of fault, Pennsylvania employees may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for their occupational disease claims under the state’s no-fault workers’ compensation system.

Common Occupational Illnesses

There are many types of occupational illnesses, but some are more common than others. Some of the most common occupational diseases our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers have seen include:

  • Asthma – When workers are exposed to airborne toxins at work such as cement dust, they may develop serious occupational diseases like industrial asthma.
  • Black lung disease – The inhalation of coal dust, over time, can cause workers to develop black lung disease, also called coal worker’s pneumoconiosis.
  • Chemical poisoning – Workers may develop chemical burns or chemical poisoning if they are exposed to harmful chemicals without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or adequate training on how to handle them.
  • Hearing loss – This is the most common occupational disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with approximately 22 million workers being regularly exposed to hazardous workplace noise each year.
  • Mesothelioma – This aggressive, lethal form of cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, which harms the lining of the lungs when inhaled.
  • Neurological disorders – Certain toxins can cause damage to the neurological system. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cautions workers to be aware of workplace toxins and pollutants such as lead, formaldehyde, dioxins, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
  • Skin diseases – According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), skin diseases such as contact dermatitis, rashes, and skin cancers, are the second-most common type of occupational disease (the first being occupational hearing loss).
  • Respiratory illnesses – Inhaling dust, fumes, and fibers can cause workers to develop respiratory diseases such as silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Occupational Diseases

If you suspect that your disease was caused by occupational exposures, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you file your occupational disease claim and get the compensation to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW. Our skilled and experienced attorneys represent all types of workers in Philadelphia and throughout the state.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.