An industrial disease is any disease, ailment, or condition to which workers in a specific industry are prone. Industrial diseases (also called “occupational disease”) are likely to occur over a long period of time rather than a one-time incident.
Employees in industries that involve repetitive stress, exposure to dangerous materials or chemicals, or risk of physical injury are more likely to develop an industrial disease.
What are Some Types of Industrial Diseases?
Industrial diseases can occur in many different forms and types. Some types of industrial diseases include:
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome;
- Occupational asthma, popcorn lung, and other respiratory ailments;
- Silica dust exposure and other toxic exposure conditions;
- Skin diseases due to chemical sprays or drops; and/or
- Eye diseases or eye injuries.
Many industrial diseases result from unsafe working conditions. An example of this is where workers are not provided with the proper ventilation or breathing masks when working with certain substances.
Also, many industries that are not typically thought of as “dangerous” or “risky” may sometimes involve industrial disease occurrences. Some examples of such industries are: catering and food service (due to heat exposure), printing, hairdressing, metal work and machinery, vehicle repair, construction, and some healthcare jobs.
Can I Sue for Damages Related to an Industrial Disease?
In some cases, it may be possible to sue an employer or company for damages related to industrial disease. For instance, if an employer failed to inform a worker of the risks associated with a particular job position or task, they may be liable for subsequent instances of industrial disease. Or, if an employer forced a worker to proceed with a task under unsafe working conditions, it may also lead to liability.
On the other hand, many jobs require the employee to sign a waiver or consent form prior to beginning employment. It would then be up to the employee to proceed with work under conditions of known risk. Again, liability can be found for an employer who forces an employee to proceed under unreasonable work conditions.
Damages in an industrial disease lawsuit may vary from case to case, depending on the severity of the plaintiff’s condition. The damages can cover monetary losses such as lost wages and payments for medical bills.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Industrial Disease Claim?
Industrial disease injuries can sometimes be debilitating and can often affect a person’s ability to work. You may wish to hire an workers compensation lawyer if you need assistance in filing a claim for industrial disease injuries. Your attorney can assist you with the injury and employment laws in your area and can help represent you during the actual trial process.