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Occupational Cancer: Risks and Precautions in the Workplace


Workplace cancer is a global issue. Learn about preventive measures, protective gear, and legal assistance for affected Missouri workers.

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Cancer is a devastating illness and a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for over 10 million deaths in 2020 alone. It’s common knowledge that many carcinogens are found in food, alcohol, chemicals, and tobacco products. While the workplace is often one of the last places to expect cancer-causing substances, work-related cancer is a scourge affecting workers across the divide.

Occupational cancer results from workers being exposed to carcinogenic substances. This article will discuss cancer in the workplace and how workers can take action to protect themselves from cancer risks.

What Occupations Are More at Risk of Work-Related Cancer?

Unsurprisingly, some occupations are more at risk of cancer than others. These occupations expose the workers more to carcinogenic substances or unconducive work environments. The jobs carry a greater risk of getting work-related cancer:

  • Mining and chemical manufacturing
  • Agriculture and agroforestry
  • Fishing and aquatic exploration
  • Radiology technicians
  • Oil workers
  • Car mechanics

No occupation, including office workers, is immune to work-related cancer. Sitting in front of a computer all day with no physical activity could increase your cancer risk. 

Common Carcinogens in the Workplace

Some work environments are ridden with carcinogens that increase the workers’ risk of getting cancer. Some of the most common carcinogens in the workplace include:

  • Chemicals like benzene, acrylonitrile, asbestos, lead, and butadiene
  • Ultraviolet and ionizing radiation
  • Diesel engine exhaust
  • Disruptions in circadian rhythms (night jobs)
  • Work-relate lifestyle habits (lack of physical activity, overeating)
  • Tips for Preventing Work-Related Cancer

Exposure to carcinogens is almost inevitable in some occupations. Still, you can take extra precautions to protect yourself from them, including wearing protective gear such as goggles and gloves. Protective clothing is the first line of defense against cancers for agricultural, manufacturing, and mining jobs. So, ensure you wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) to limit exposure to carcinogens.

Speak with a St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Attorney 24/7

Work-related cancer is a serious threat that can affect workers in various occupations. Taking proactive steps such as wearing protective gear and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogens in the workplace. If you or a loved one have been affected by work-related cancer, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance from experienced professionals. 

At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, our St. Louis workers’ compensation attorneys have over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of injured Missouri workers. Call us today for a free case evaluation to ensure your rights are protected.

Updated: April 14, 2023
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