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Do Lung Problems Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation covers work-related lung problems caused by exposure to harmful substances, including occupational asthma, COPD, and silicosis.

workers compensation for lung problems

Many workers are exposed to toxic gasses and air pollutants that may compromise their lung health. The respiratory system is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, and lung issues may compromise the worker’s capacity to work and are also incredibly detrimental to their well-being.

Fortunately, worker’s compensation insurance generally covers work-related lung and other respiratory complications. However, the worker must demonstrate that the issues in question relate to their work or working environment. Here are a few lung problems that generally qualify for workers’ compensation.

Occupational Asthma

A staggering 26 million people in the US have asthma, roughly equivalent to 1 in 13 people. Many workers in the country’s job market have occupational asthma from excessive exposure to harmful gasses and air pollutants.

Dust from the farming fields and particles of grounded grain may trigger asthmatic attacks in farm workers. The same goes for factory workers exposed to harmful fumes and cleaners exposed to chemicals.

Baker’s asthma, also known as baker’s lung, is another type of occupational asthma that often affects workers in bakeries and food processing facilities. It’s caused by inhaling flour and other ingredients, leading to respiratory symptoms.

Regardless of the exact cause, workers with occupational asthma are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD describes a cluster of diseases that disrupt the proper flow of air through the trachea, causing breathing difficulties. According to the World Health Organization, the condition is extremely dangerous and is the third-leading cause of death worldwide.

Occupations in brick-making, agriculture, mining, construction, foundry, and the petroleum industry are more at risk of COPD. That’s because these workers are exposed to various types of dust that are a leading cause of the disease. These types of dust include:

  • Cadmium dust
  • Silica dust
  • Grain and flour dust
  • Mineral dust
  • Welding fumes

It’s worth noting that these substances are also closely linked with other respiratory diseases.

Common symptoms of COPD include:

  • Shortness of breath when doing physical activities
  • Tightness around the chest
  • Respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia
  • Fatigue and a lack of energy
  • Weight loss in the later stages

Visit your doctor the moment you notice any of these symptoms. You could have a life-threatening condition that requires prompt treatment. Thankfully if your condition is work-related, all the treatment and other related costs will typically be covered under your workers’ compensation policy.

Silicosis

As the name implies, silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling excessive amounts of silica dust. Silica, or industrial sand, is a staple for industries, used in construction projects, and for manufacturing ceramic products. The element is popular for its strength and durability but is very toxic when inhaled in excess.

Silicosis causes lung swelling, leading to chest tightness, shortness of breath, and a persistent cough. The condition manifests itself years later after continuous exposure to silica dust. Under your worker’s compensation insurance, you may get treatment with zero out-of-pocket spending.

Lung Issues Caused by Work? Speak With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today!

Lung problems can compromise your general health and your quality of life. Don’t let yourself suffer in silence if you’re experiencing work-related lung issues. Talk to an experienced St. Louis workers compensation attorney at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann for help filing your worker’s comp claim. Fair compensation is your legal right.

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