FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4300

Common Work-Related Respiratory Illnesses

Respiratory and lung illnesses can have a huge impact on your quality of life and future if you suffer from a workplace injury.

Fortunately, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage in Missouri if you’ve suffered a lung or respiratory injury. Let’s discuss some common lung injuries sustained in the workplace and what you can do if you suffer from one.

man with work related respiratory illness

Common Work Lung and Respiratory Injuries

Some common work-related respiratory illnesses are asthma, asbestosis, silicosis, bronchitis, and pneumoconiosis. All of these lung and respiratory problems can be caused by or exacerbated by poor workplace conditions. 


Asbestosis is caused by asbestos. Someone with asbestosis might often be coughing or experiencing shortness of breath. Untreated, asbestosis can lead to mesothelioma or lung cancer. Because asbestos is in many old floors in buildings, many companies specialize in removing asbestos. Unfortunately, workers who are removing asbestos are at elevated risk of asbestosis. Miners and construction workers are commonly afflicted.


Pneumoconiosis is a broad term for diseases caused by inhaling dust. This can impair lung functioning. One type of pneumoconiosis is “black lung disease,” caused by inhaling coal dust. Because they work in dust-heavy environments, miners are particularly at risk of pneumoconiosis.


Silica is commonly used in many construction and manufacturing jobs. Sandblasting crews often use silica, and it’s used often in making and handling concrete. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to silica can lead to silicosis. Because it’s caused by prolonged exposure, silicosis, like many lung injuries, can be tough to tie to a specific workplace date. Shortness of breath, coughing, and blue skin are all symptoms of silicosis.


Bronchitis is an illness many people will get. However, certain types of jobs put you particularly at risk. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lungs. People who work around dust, smoke, and fumes are at risk of bronchitis. 


Asthma is another ailment many people will be familiar with. You might’ve met someone with asthma who needed to keep an inhaler handy. However, asthma can be both caused and exacerbated by working in unsafe conditions. Allergens, dust, Isocyanates, mold, and other irritants can cause it.

Isocyanates are chemicals common in paints, foam products, polyurethane, heating and insulation materials, etc. Repeated exposure to isocyanates irritates the mucus membrane and causes asthma. Asthmatic employees may have a cough, wheezing, and heavy congestion. 

St. Louis Workers Compensation Attorney

The good news is that many of these injuries can be treated. And if you suffered or aggravated one of these respiratory or lung illnesses in the workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. 

It is important to file an injury report with your employer as soon as you become aware of the injury. Next, reach out to an experienced St. Louis Workers Compensation Lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann for a FREE case evaluation. We have been helping injured Missouri workers for over 25 years and have the experience necessary to protect your legal rights after a workplace injury.

Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney

Give us a call 24/7 for a FREE Case Evaluation

Call (314) 361-4300
Updated: April 15, 2021