What is an occupational disease?

Workplace accidents are a regular occurrence in many Tennessee workplaces. These accidents are sudden and may leave a worker with a serious injury. Workers in this position are left to deal with the physical, emotional and financial wounds caused by the accident.

However, Tennessee residents should know that workplace accidents are not the only threat to workers in this state. People also face the threat of an occupational disease. Unlike a workplace accident — which suddenly causes harm — occupational diseases are the culmination of years of exposure to dangerous conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these hazards can come from a variety of sources within the workplace. These potential hazards include the climate or environment within the workplace, chemicals used within the workplace, repetitive physical labor and other biological agents found within the work environment. Certain work environments can also threaten a person’s mental health if proper precautions are not taken.

In many cases, these hazards are inhaled by workers. Chemicals, for example, can be inhaled over time and cause long-term damage to a person’s body. People can also contract occupational diseases by digesting foreign particles, or by absorbing them through their skin. Proper safety techniques can reduce these risks.

When an occupational disease makes it difficult or impossible for a Tennessee resident to work, the person should consider Social Security disability benefits. These benefit accrue over a lifetime and are meant to help those people who can no longer work. An occupational disease can, in some situations, help people to qualify for SSDI benefits. The information in this blog post should only be seen as general information. An attorney, however, can help people with their specific legal issues when they are facing an occupational disease.

Source: CDC, “Occupational Diseases,” Accessed March 6, 2015