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Occupation illnesses run the U.S. economy $250 billion annually

On behalf of Jeffrey Frederick of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workers’ Compensation on Friday, April 5, 2013.

There is a wide spectrum of injuries, illnesses and conditions that can afflict a worker because of their employment. While injuries from catastrophic accidents are the typical negative workplace happenings to grab headlines in Illinois, there are also workers that suffer because of the repetitive nature of their job, leading to over exertion and then injury. Often more sinister can be occupation exposure. When a worker is exposed to dangerous levels of chemicals or substances, serious illnesses can lead to a diminished quality of life, or even death. Often, these diseases do not manifest themselves until long after the exposure.

When the cancer or condition does arise, the victim faces enormous medical bills that they must grapple with while also trying to manage their pain. Exposure on the job to asbestos, benzene, pesticides and so much more can result in this end.

According to a report in the New York Times, toxic exposure in the workplace leads to over 200,000 Americans every year being debilitated. Another way of digesting this issue is considering the fact that 10 times more Americans die every year because of a disease developed from toxic exposure on their job, than the number of workers killed in a catastrophic workplace accident.

Despite it being in the employers’ best interest to address these issues, most fail to. Many employers cannot understand that occupational illnesses and injuries end up costing the economy about $250 billion each year. This figure accounts in large part for the lost productivity of sick workers. Further, many of these sick workers have their expenses covered by public programs. Small safety modifications could seriously cut down on that enormous sum, and the enormous level of suffering.

If a worker becomes ill because of toxic exposures from their job, there can be financial recourse available, much the same way an injured employee from a catastrophic accident can pursue recourse. An experienced legal attorney can fight for an ill worker in Illinois to receive their just compensation.

Source: The New York Times, “As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester,” Ian Urbina, March 30, 2013

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