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What Are Typical Occupational Diseases Among Construction Employees?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

IL injury lawyerConsidered an essential business, the construction industry is how our roads, buildings, and homes are built. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites throughout the nation on a daily basis. Studies show that the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all other industries. Common hazards for construction workers can include falls from scaffolding or ladders and burns from explosions or electric shocks. However, there are additional dangers faced by these types of workers, including occupational diseases. In some cases, these may go unnoticed for years and employees in the construction field may suffer irreparable damage. A workers’ compensation claim may alleviate the financial ramifications of this type of workplace injury.

On-the-Job Hazards

Many jobs can have their fair share of risks, including those faced by police officers or firefighters. Construction workers face somewhat unique dangers depending on what types of products with which they may be working. Chronic medical conditions have been linked to prolonged exposure to certain toxic vapors, gases, fumes, smoke, paint, or dust. A few of the most common types of occupational diseases or illnesses include:

  • Asthma
  • Mesothelioma and other cancers
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dermatitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders

Occupational contact dermatitis may be caused by exposure to a variety of agents, including irritants or sensitizers, physical agents, and biologic agents. Musculoskeletal disorders include repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis (tennis elbow), common when construction workers use their hands and arms for painting, nailing, and sawing. Asbestos-related injuries are common in construction workers who are exposed to certain building materials such as insulation. Because asbestos is considered a carcinogen, it can cause cancer after repeated exposure.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

Under Illinois law, most companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is a no-fault benefit system paid by employers to employees who sustain work-related injuries, illnesses, or diseases. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for resolving disputes among employees and their employers for injuries and illnesses that occur on the job. An arbitrator typically reviews the details of the case, which can also be appealed to the circuit court, Appellate Court, and Illinois Supreme Court. The majority of disputes are resolved through a settlement.

Preventative Measures

Any Illinois company has a duty to provide a safe and healthy work environment for its employees. This holds true for construction companies and contractors, too. Having procedures and policies in place that avoid exposure to the offending agents can go a long way in preventing occupational illnesses and disease. For instance, requiring all workers to wear hard hats, masks, face shields, or goggles can help keep them safe from irritants getting into their skin or eyes. In addition, routine application of antiseptic creams may prevent contact dermatitis.

Contact a Bloomingdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Any type of illness or disease can have devastating and long-term effects. If you or your loved one has suffered due to a workplace injury or medical condition, it is imperative that you seek professional legal counsel. At the Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C., our DuPage County workplace injury attorneys have over 20 years of experience in this area of law. We will work tirelessly to make sure you are compensated for your pain and suffering. For help with your case, call us today at 630-665-5678 to arrange your free consultation.



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