Colorado workers in various industries might not realize that they could be exposed to asbestos, even though the Environmental Protection Agency has placed severe restrictions on products containing this dangerous mineral substance. Asbestosis and mesothelioma are workplace illnesses that typically require long-term medical treatment. If not diagnosed and treated, it could cause death.
Although Colorado workers in various industries are frequently exposed to workplace injury hazards, not all consequences are physical injuries. Injured workers can suffer the consequences of exposure to workplace illness threats that may not be immediately recognized as occupational. Exposure to extreme weather conditions can cause heat or cold-related illnesses, and workers in some occupations may suffer the consequences of radiation, blood-borne pathogens, welding flash and more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued a reminder that employers nationwide, including in Colorado, should not lose sight of the hazards of environmental heat exposure even though summer is winding down. Heat illness can occur at any time, and of all reports about employees being injured at work during this time, a significant percentage involved heat exposure. The same goes for on-the-job fatalities.
Boss, this work uniform makes me sick. Literally.
Many Colorado workers suffer occupational diseases and repetitive injuries that can cause chronic conditions and could even prevent victims from working. In many cases, these conditions develop over time due to ongoing exposure to hazardous workplace environments. Unfortunately, these ailments are not as visible as broken bones, and they typically do not have a definite date of onset. All these aspects make the claiming of workers' compensation benefits extremely challenging.
Workers in Colorado are likely aware of the fact that they can claim insurance benefits after suffering work-related injuries. However, not all employees know that workplace illnesses can cause permanent disability, which also entitles them to workers' compensation benefits. The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology recently published the findings of a study about Parkinson's disease in welders.
Mention workers' compensation and most people immediately picture a victim who was harmed in a serious industrial accident. While these types of accidents can and do happen, virtually any worker in any industry can be injured at work. Because of this, it is important for Colorado workers to understand exactly what workers' compensation benefits are and what they cover.
Along with protecting their workers against on-the-job injuries, company owners in Colorado and across the country must also protect their employees against workplace violence. There have been instances in which workers have been injured at work due to assault. After an alleged violent attack by an employee, a supervisor in another state landed in the hospital with serious injuries.
Colorado workers typically rely on their employers to provide safe work environments. Unfortunately, not all company owners prioritize workers' safety, as is evident at a facility in another state at which workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals. Two workers had to receive medical treatment after exposure to an unidentified corrosive chemical.
Researchers at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recently reported on the dangers of diacetyl and the substitute 2,3-pentanedione. Workers in various processing facilities nationwide, including here in Colorado, are at risk of developing an irreversible lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans that may require life-long medical treatment. This occupational illness is also called popcorn lung. The chemicals apparently cause scarring and constriction of a worker's airways, and the symptoms include coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties that may develop into more severe problems.