According to data published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2015, at least two million workers suffer fatal injuries on the job worldwide each year. Further, 160 million employees end up with non-fatal occupational diseases on an annual basis. Some work-related conditions are more common than others.
Statistics published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) show that contact dermatitis, or eczema, is one of the leading occupational diseases. NIOSH’s data reveals that this condition is responsible for 95% of work-related skin conditions. A variety of factors can result in an onset of this condition, including plant, parasite, radiation, chemical, irritant, animal, temperature, mechanical labor and allergen exposure.
Workers who suffer from this condition may experience dry, flaky, red and itching skin. Pain can ensue if a patient fails to treat their eczema. Those who receive a contact dermatitis diagnosis can improve their condition by staying away from toxic substances and wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.
Another job-related condition that workers have to contend with is asthma. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) data show that at least 15% of patients diagnosed with this condition develop the illness while on the job. Most of these individuals regularly work around insecticides, insulation, paint or other toxic materials. Initial signs of illness that asthma suffers face include tightening in the chest, breathing problems and coughing.
Heat-related illness is another occupational disease risk factor that workers must keep in mind. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that as many as 70,000 workers suffered heat-related injuries between 1992 and 2017. At least 800 died during that same frame. Workers who spend significant time in intense heat are at increased risk for cramps, exhaustion or stroke. Early signs of illness include dizziness, headaches, sweating, nausea and overall weakness.
A person’s occupational injury or illness risk varies depending on their industry. Injured or ill employees may be eligible for compensated medical care and lost wages as they seek treatment for their work-related medical condition. A workers’ compensation attorney can provide valuable guidance.