Buildings, housing, transportation systems, and other structures rely heavily on the efforts of construction workers. However, this line of work comes with serious health risks due to consistent exposure to loud noises, toxic chemicals, and intense physical labor.
Occupational illnesses are diseases or disorders that develop because of the work environment or the nature of the job itself. Some of the most common illnesses in the construction industry are:
Many construction workers are exposed to potentially harmful substances, such as chemicals or liquids, at high temperatures. Some employees spend their days working outside or under the scorching sun. Prolonged exposure to UV rays, toxic chemicals, and other irritants can all contribute to skin disorders.
Hearing loss is the most common occupational disease and can develop gradually due to consistent exposure to hazardous noise as well as heat, metals, and solvents. Even with protective gear, hearing loss may still develop if the employee is exposed to these elements for a long time. Due to difficulties in communicating and the ability to monitor their environment, people with hearing loss may suffer a lower quality of life.
Working environments in construction may expose employees to inhalable irritants such as fumes, dust, respirable crystalline silica, and asbestos. Employees who continuously breathe in these pollutants may eventually develop respiratory issues such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Lung diseases
Respiratory problems can make it difficult to breathe and cause chest pains or permanent lung damage.
Those in the construction industry often need to do a lot of lifting, pulling, and bending, but they may also need to stand for a long time. Unfortunately, performing repetitive movements can put an employee at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.
Minnesota law requires companies to provide workers’ compensation and follow a no-fault system, which may enable employees to receive payments without proving employer negligence. Compensation can help relieve the financial strain that comes with treating an occupational illness. Workers who develop an illness but are not receiving fair compensation from their employers may need to seek legal representation.