All you should know about occupational diseases

If you work for long hours and are concerned about your health simultaneously, you should pay close attention to occupational diseases. Those are work-related diseases that, in some cases, can be disabling, disruptive and fatal. The samples vary from hearing loss and asthma to cancers and infections.

This article introduces occupational diseases, the common causes, and tips to prevent them from happening.


What are occupational diseases?

An occupational disease is a work-related disorder caused in the work environment or, if preexisted, gets aggravated.

An occupational disease is considered a health condition or disorder that emerges at a high frequency in a group of people. They work in similar conditions, with the same exposure.

However, the exposure may be weaker in other groups of people.

According to ILO, every year, 2.3 million people die at work because of occupational diseases. This estimation divides into two branches. Accidents cause over 350,000 deaths, and the other two million deaths are due to work-related illnesses.


What are the most frequent occupational diseases?

The International Labor Organization has released the entire list of occupational diseases

Due to the occupation and environmental conditions, the type of disease may differ. Here we have mentioned the most common occupational diseases:

  • Cancer 
  • Respiratory 
  • Sensory 
  • Cardiovascular 
  • Neurological 
  • Reproductive 
  • Dermal 
  • Infectious 
  • Allergy 
  • Organs 
  • Psychological or cognitive 
  • Musculoskeletal disorders


What are the symptoms of occupational diseases?

There are various symptoms to make you aware of occupational disease. Physical and mental signs are among them. 

According to Safety and Health Magazine, mental signs include:

  • Loss of compassion and empathy for others
  • Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed
  • The feeling of anger, sadness, and irritability
  • Feeling detached from your interests
  • Numbness or burnout
  • Limited tolerance due to stress
  • Constant thinking of trauma survivors
  • Constant self-blame
  • Belief system change
  • Reduced sense of accomplishment
  • Having difficulty in concentration

Physical and behavioral symptoms vary according to the disease and the job. You would better consult with health experts for your symptoms. 


What elements cause an occupational disease?

Multiple elements can cause short or long-term occupational harm to people. It can range from exposure to substances, catastrophes, or a considerable amount of energy.

As it’s being said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” by recognizing the potential harm, you can reduce the jeopardy by assessing safe developments in the workplace. You could also eliminate the possible risks to prevent the injuries. 

  • Physical Noise (Vibration, elevation, pressure)
  • Environmental (Air pollution, smoke, cold, smoke, heat, or human-generated disease).
  • Material (Toxic mixtures including plastics, fabrics, and nanomaterials)
  • Chemical (Inhaling or ingesting heavy metals or solvents)
  • Biological (Viruses, toxins, or pathogenic microorganisms)
  • Pharmaceutical (High dose of medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol)
  • Mineral (Fiberglass, asbestos, talc, and silica)
  • Based on energy (Electrical fields and radiation)
  • Particulate (Dust, ultra-fine particles, and diesel exhaust)
  • Allergens or irritants (Cleaning chemicals, isocyanates, and preservatives)
  • Natural ( Fungi, spores, bioactive substances, and wood dust)
  • Organizational ( Lack of control and respect, shift work, workload)


Who is more vulnerable to occupational diseases?

Despite the fact that occupational disease can influence all workers, the risk is not equal for everyone. It depends on the type of occupation, workplace, and duties. The following occupations would be more vulnerable to occupational diseases:

  • Construction
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Electrical/ Utilities
  • Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality/ service/ retail
  • Natural resources


Tips to prevent occupational diseases

The following tips can help you prevent occupational diseases at work:

Gather information

First thing first, you should be aware of the list of occupations and the disease potential.

Then you should specify your job and study the impacts on your body and mind. This will permit you to lessen the potential risk. 

For instance, the hearing system of miners or construction workers could get affected. You could take an Auditory physical test to ensure the job is not hurting your system.  


Follow the prevention steps  

When you know the potential risks, you can take prevention steps. They vary by your job and the condition you are working in. For instance, you might need to wear N95 respirator masks. The employees might need to take a few vaccines to get immunized against contagious diseases. 

You could also need a few tests and exams while doing the job to ensure your health. An occupational health center could help you with what prevention tips to follow.

However, prevention leads to the following benefits:

  • Hinder the disease at the source before it happens.
  • Raise the information about the disease’s symptoms and jeopardies and take action before it spreads or worsens.
  • Concentrate on reducing the disease’s harm and impact by installing new devices and facilitation techniques. It includes income security and organization accommodations.
  • Develop the solutions to make sure if your executions were effective or not.


Take safety tips

Knowing and implementing safety tips could help to decrease the occupational diseases:

  • Reduce the risk factors from the work
  • Decrease the exposure by installing new devices or isolating the danger
  • Arrange the policy by scheduling the appointment, maintenance, and procedure
  • Lessen the exposure by equipping and hiring suitable employees
  • Review the workplace regularly to remove the exposure as much as possible


Change the regulations, save lives.

People may listen to you if you try to inform them about the work-related risk factors. Therefore there is a bulky possibility to forget it or take dangerous action because of the lack of time or laziness. However, when a rule is complied with and brings about a punishment, people usually get more strict about following the regulations.


Use work compensation

It is an insurance system that provides insurance security, cost limitation, and resource protection for workers. It is planned to support the workers while they have faced jeopardy and inform and motivate them beforehand.


Sum up

The occupational disease could happen to any type of job. You would better know them and try to reduce the risk as much as you can.

The article explained occupational diseases, the most frequent ones, and the most important causes. You also got familiar with how to reduce the risk factors by the mentioned tips.

You might need professional advice for the occupational diseases you face at work. There might be required tests and exams to be performed by health experts. N95 respirator fit test, DOT, and hazmat test are a few of them. 

In case you need occupational services, Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center is at your service in Las Vegas. 

We have been providing occupational services to the residents for 15+ years. Give us a call at (702) 381-3989 or go through the menu for further information. 

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