There are a wide range of diseases that can inflict workers. While occupational diseases overall have become rarer over the years with better technology and understanding of the causes and symptoms, diseases still happen.
Coal mining is one of the industries that come to mind, for example. People often think of black lung. Minnesota doesn’t have coal mines, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other potential disease risks in the state. Knowing the risks of your workplace, and taking the proper precautions can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding disease.
We’ve written about mesothelioma and asbestos in the past, which is a common example of an occupational disease. Various other illnesses can occur, particularly when you are working around harmful chemicals, which is why you and your employer should take proper precautions at work sites.
- Know the risks: This is broad, but it is your best defense. Know what you may be exposing yourself to before you begin work. Whether that is a harmful chemical or agent in products you use, or the environment you work in, knowing the risks, and avoiding unnecessary ones, is your best defense against occupational disease.
- Follow protocol: Safety organizations such as OSHA have rules you should be following. Your employer should be enforcing these safety rules, but as an employee you should also know the safety measures in place.
- Wear the proper equipment: Whether that means a respirator to protect you from lung disease or gloves to protect your skin, safety gear can literally be the difference between life and death.
Even in jobs where you are required to work with potentially harmful substances, you can protect yourself. It is important to take the right precautions in order to avoid potential complications later.