Too many people equate workers’ compensation injuries with a single accident. Workers can get hurt tripping over broken tile or a box of materials falling on their heads or tearing a muscle attempting to lift an over-packed box. Unfortunately, single-accident injuries are only one category of workers’ compensation claims. Employees must also face repetitive stress injuries, toxic exposure and occupational diseases.

What are common occupational illnesses? Occupational diseases can include:

  • Occupational asthma: According to OSHA data, up to 15 percent of asthma sufferers in the United States can trace their affliction back to work-related factors. Irritants like chlorine, insulation, paint or other allergens in the air can lead to respiratory system distress.
  • Occupational contact dermatitis: An employer is responsible for providing personal protective gear such as goggles and respirators. Unfortunately, many irritants can still come into contact with the skin. Various chemicals can penetrate thin fabric or come into direct contact with the skin and cause inflammation, itching, pain and redness. Left untreated, skin can be permanently damaged.
  • Occupational hearing loss: Hearing loss in the workplace can often be traced back to either loud environments or ototoxic chemicals. Unfortunately, prevention is the best treatment for occupational hearing loss.
  • Occupational heat illness: Working in direct sunlight or hot, non-ventilated areas can lead to severe heat-related conditions. The symptoms of a heat illness can include weakness, headaches, sweating, dizziness and nausea. Prevention, again, is encouraged by taking actions such as remaining hydrated and taking additional breaks in cool, shaded areas.

If you suffer from these or similar conditions, it is wise to discuss your work injury with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. It is important to understand your legal options for monetary compensation.