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Colorado miners may be at risk for hearing loss and lung diseases

As we've seen in previous posts, a job can cause illness or disease over a period of time. Depending on the nature of the job, workers can suffer from occupational diseases that can become both financially and physically crippling.

One industry that has been in Colorado for a long time is the mining industry. And while the mining industry has provided people with jobs, it has also increased the number of workers affected by lung diseases and hearing loss.

The hearing loss can occur when workers do not have the proper ear protection. There is a lot of noise in the mines, including sawing and drilling, that can lead to hearing loss. If a worker is in that type of environment over a long period of time, it could lead to permanent damage.

A miner can also sustain a lung injury or illness over time. This type of illness is especially concerning because it can be deadly. Drilling into minerals such as quartz and silica creates a lot of mineral dust. And while breathing this dust in once or twice may not cause any harm, inhaling it over a period of years can cause a lot of health problems.

The tiny dust particles get trapped in miners' lungs, essentially acting as microscopic razors. Unfortunately, this type of disease known as silicosis, does not symptomatically rear its ugly head until it is too late. Coughing and trouble breathing can alert a worker that something is wrong. But by this point, the damage is irreversible.

When a worker is injured on the job or contracts an occupational disease, he or she can seek workers' compensation benefits that can help with some of the financial challenges that may arise. But each case is unique and if you find yourself in need of these benefits, speaking with someone who understands workers' compensation laws in Colorado can help you get the medical attention you may need.

Source: The Durango Herald: "Quartz dust and silicosis: Still here, still deadly," Dr. Fraser Houston, Aug. 28, 2011

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Eley Law Firm
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