As a worker in New York City, you may be exposed to various hazards that can cause illnesses and injuries. Some of these risks may be associated with your occupation, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, loud noises, and physical strain. While your employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace, accidents and illnesses can still happen. If you have been diagnosed with an illness caused by occupational exposure, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common illnesses caused by occupational exposure in New York City and what you can do to protect your health and your rights.
1. Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Diseases
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing until the 1980s. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled or ingested, and they can cause inflammation, scarring, and genetic damage in the body. Other asbestos-related diseases include lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural plaques. If you have been exposed to asbestos at work, you should seek medical attention and legal advice as soon as possible.
2. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud noises can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, leading to permanent hearing loss. This can occur in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and transportation, where workers are exposed to high levels of noise from machinery, tools, and vehicles. To prevent hearing loss, you should wear hearing protection, limit your exposure to loud noises, and get regular hearing tests. If you have already experienced hearing loss, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.
3. Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are caused by performing the same motion or task repeatedly, such as typing, lifting, or using vibrating tools. RSIs can affect the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck, causing pain, weakness, and numbness. To prevent RSIs, you should take breaks, stretch, and use ergonomic equipment. If you have developed an RSI, you may need medical treatment and time off work to recover.
4. Chemical Exposure
Chemicals such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals can cause a range of health problems, from skin irritation to cancer. Workers in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and cleaning are at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals. To protect yourself from chemical exposure, you should wear protective clothing and equipment, follow safety protocols, and report any spills or leaks. If you have been exposed to chemicals at work and have developed an illness, you may be entitled to compensation.
5. Heat-Related Illnesses
Working in hot and humid conditions can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses. This can occur in industries such as construction, landscaping, and agriculture, where workers are exposed to high temperatures and physical exertion. To prevent heat-related illnesses, you should stay hydrated, take breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas, and wear lightweight and breathable clothing. If you have suffered a heat-related illness at work, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
Occupational exposure in New York City can lead to serious illnesses and injuries that can affect your health and your livelihood. If you have been diagnosed with an illness caused by your job, you should seek medical attention and legal advice to understand your rights and options. At Schotter Millican, LLP, we have years of experience in helping workers get the compensation they deserve for occupational illnesses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.