Handling Concerns of Respiratory Hazards at Work

People face respiratory hazards every day when they work in industrial environments or around dust, fumes and pollutants. As such, they have a much higher risk of developing a respiratory illness.

While employers must comply with federal regulations regarding worker safety, some companies fail to mitigate risks enough. As such, workers may contract serious respiratory diseases that impact their quality of life.

Identifying symptoms

Respiratory symptoms can develop into chronic illnesses. This often happens gradually with consistent exposure to allergens and pathogens in the air. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, untreated symptoms can impact lung function, increase respiratory infections, cause pulmonary loss and trigger asthma. Phlegm, uncontrollable coughing and wheezing are milder symptoms, but can also worsen with time.

Workers who have consistent exposure to harsh environmental conditions should take a proactive approach to protect their lungs with the use of personal protective equipment. People with underlying health conditions including lung disease or diabetes face a higher risk of developing respiratory illnesses.

Taking action

If workers have health concerns and suspect that their symptoms correlate with their work duties, they should notify their health care provider immediately. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, people should observe to see if their condition improves when they do not spend time at work. They can also file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer and in serious cases, involve the OSHA.

Respiratory illnesses can impact a person’s ability to work and provide for personal needs. They can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life and have life-changing financial repercussions. Immediate action at the earliest signs of trouble may help affected workers to make changes before their condition worsens.

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