Workplace illnesses develop for many different reasons. Someone who handles radioactive materials could develop cancer, while someone who works in a hospital could acquire the same infection that their patients have through direct exposure or due to handling contaminated bodily fluids.
People can also develop life-altering work-related illnesses because of environmental exposure to dangerous substances on the job. Asbestos is present in certain manufacturing facilities, older buildings and even older vehicles. Workers who handle asbestos because of their job could eventually develop multiple different diseases.
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen
Few product components or products have as many safety and handling requirements as asbestos does currently. The reason why everything from respirators to decontamination showers is necessary for workers who handle asbestos is that even small amounts of environmental exposure at work can drastically increase someone’s risk of developing cancer.
Asbestos has a direct correlation with an increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the organ lining. People may notice mild irritation when working with asbestos, but most will not notice any worrisome symptoms until long after their exposure. Workers may go years without noticing issues, with many only getting diagnosed with their work-acquired disease after retirement.
Mesothelioma, in particular, can take a long time after asbestos exposure to develop symptoms. Workers will need to remain vigilant for decades after they leave jobs where they handle asbestos, as it could take up to 40 years to present symptoms. Those who develop cancer because of their job may be able to claim workers’ compensation after their diagnosis.
Workers sickened because of their job responsibilities will likely require workers’ compensation benefits for their health care and any loss of income that results from their illness.