When we think about workplace injuries, we tend to think of things like broken bones, slip and falls, etc., but some of the greatest hazards to Massachusetts employees are in the air that they may be breathing while earning the daily bread. Health and safety standards have improved considerably over the years, but everybody isn’t always up to code. The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to be aware of what’s out there.
FIVE DANGEROUS WORKPLACE SUBSTANCES:
Asbestos has become a notorious symbol of industrial negligence and death. According to the World Health Organization, more than 100,000 fatalities each year worldwide can be traced to asbestos exposure in factories, construction sites and other workplaces. The effects of asbestos may include the following:
- Lung cancer
- Inflammation of the digestive tract
- Respiratory difficulties
Lead-based paints are a well known danger in homes and buildings. When employees work with lead on the job, they face severe danger from possible poisoning. Many people who work in manufacturing are at risk of lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead toxicity include cognitive disturbances and severe digestive disorders. Lead exposure can be fatal if it is allowed to continue.
Silica can be deadly to the respiratory system. Many employees in the mining and refining industries breathe large amounts of silica on the job, leading to increased levels of lung cancer, respiratory distress and compromised cardiovascular functioning. These tiny crystalline particles can cause death if exposure is continued for many years.
Farm workers and agricultural workers run the risk of exposure to deadly pesticides. These chemicals are formulated to kill noxious pests that attack crops, but can also be lethal to humans in sufficiently high concentrations. Many farm workers spend hours outdoors without protection while crop dusters scatter poison near them or directly over them. Modern pesticides are powerful enough to cause mutations leading to cancer. They can also cause birth defects if pregnant women are exposed to them.
Glues and Solvents
Many factory workers are exposed to glues and solvents on the job. Artists and precision crafters may face dangerous levels of solvent exposure or glue exposure during their careers. Providing manicures and pedicures can also be a serious risk facture for solvent exposure. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nail salon professionals absorb twice as many toxic solvents as employees in comparable service jobs. Some solvents may cause brain damage or an increased risk of job-related cancer.
If you or a loved one feels that they’ve been exposed to these or any other dangerous substances while at work, please contact us: