Contracting a virus, such as Hepatitis A, is a risk for those that work in the food industry.
Work related injuries are an unfortunate reality that workers face each day. Workers in almost all industries are at risk of some kind of injury, however, some types of workers face greater risks compared to others.
When we think of work related injuries in the food industry, we often do not think beyond slips and falls, cuts and lacerations and burn injuries. However, the reality is that food industry workers face much wider risks. The biggest risk that these workers face is that of infection and in this article, we will discuss how food industry workers are at risk of contracting infections and illnesses such as Hepatitis A.
How Does the Infection Spread?
The biggest risk of infection could come from a co-worker’s hands, especially if they are not particular about washing their hands properly after using the bathroom. Hepatitis A is among the top five viruses that can be passed through food. Most news items are usually focused on infected costumers, and little is ever spoken about infected food service workers, who are at a biggest risk of infection.
It is not uncommon for workers in the food industry to eat the same food that their customers eat, which means that if the cook is infected by Hepatitis A, he/she can pass the virus not only to the customers but to the co-workers as well. When an infected bartender pours a drink for everyone after they complete their shift, they could also pass on the virus. There are other ways in which a co-worker can unknowingly spread the virus to other workers such as when sharing their lunch.
About Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A often results in jaundice, which is a condition marked by yellowing of the person’s skin and eyes. Some other common symptoms include:
- Dark urine
- Weight loss
- Grey stools
- Joint pain
- In rare cases, liver disease and death
The symptoms may not appear until 2-6 weeks after the infection, which means, the disease can spread from a seemingly healthy worker to a co-worker. When a worker gets infected with Hepatitis A, the symptoms can last for as long as 2-6 months. This means, the worker may not be able to return to work for months, and would need some kind of compensation to makeup for the lost wages. Moreover, the worker would need treatment for the illness, which may include medications, and in some severe cases, hospitalization.
Seeking Workers Compensation Benefits
If you have contracted an infection such as Hepatitis A from your workplace, you may be able to claim workers compensation benefits. However, you may need to prove that the illness was actually contracted from the workplace. You may need legal help from a competent and experienced St. Louis workers compensation lawyer, who can protect your rights and help get the benefits you deserve.
For more than 20 years, the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has been helping injured St. Louis workers receive the compensation benefits they need to move forward with their lives. Call us today at (314) 361- 4300 or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.