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Occupational Diseases: What are they, and how do you prevent them?

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According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 70% of workers don’t have any insurance in case of occupational disease and injuries, and proper workplace health initiatives can reduce absenteeism due to sick leaves by 27%, and reduce health-care costs for businesses and companies by 26%. As such, it’s clear that any business or company should prioritize worker safety and health, and the prevention of occupational diseases and injuries. Today, we’ll be talking about occupational diseases and what your company can do to prevent them.

Occupational Disease

Occupational diseases are defined as chronic ailments caused by one’s occupational activity and work setting. Any occupational hazard that isn’t traumatic in nature such as falls, trips, slips, punctures, and such are not considered as occupational diseases, but muscular issues such as overuse syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome are considered as occupational diseases.

Common Occupational Illnesses

In the same report by the WHO, the top occupational diseases are hearing loss, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, and leukemia. However, occupational diseases and their prevalence varies per industry, and some industries are more prone to certain types of occupational diseases than others — for example, those who are in the mining industry are more prone to Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP) or “miner’s lung”/”black lung disease” as compared to those working in food processing factories. We’ll be tackling the three main occupational diseases in general, and how your company can safeguard your workers from them:

Respiratory Illnesses

One of the most common respiratory conditions suffered by workers is respiratory in nature, such as tuberculosis, occupational asthma, COPD, and mesothelioma. This can be due to poor ventilation, exposure to harmful substances, and the lack of filters and safety equipment. By providing your workers with high-quality masks, as well as ensuring good ventilation and air flow, can greatly help in the prevention of respiratory illnesses. You should also have safety and handling protocols in place when handling toxic chemicals and other gaseous substances that are harmful to your workers’ health.

Skin Conditions

Workers can suffer from eczema, skin infections, rashes, and even increase the risk of skin cancer depending on the nature of their job. As such, it’s important to strictly implement the use of protective gear and clothing to prevent any potential skin diseases their jobs can expose them to.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss and other auditory issues are common for workers who work with loud machinery, especially if they have to work with those machineries for their entire work shifts. Hearing loss can still be an issue even with the use of protective equipment such as earmuffs and earbuds, but they can help lessen the effect of loud noises significantly. It’s important for your company to allow your workers in Colorado to visit or be evaluated by Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialists to determine the extent of injury if they are starting to notice any issues with hearing after working at your company’s construction site or factory.


Muscoskeletal Issues

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) which is caused by repetitive and/or forceful movements are very common and can afflict those in highly physical jobs such as in construction, and also those in office-based jobs. The most common of these ailments is tendinosis/tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. These issues can be prevented by training your employees with proper posture and stretching exercises, investing in ergonomic equipment, and allowing your workers to take frequent breaks especially after heavy or straining physical activities.



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Your workforce is the lifeblood of your company. As such, it’s important to invest in their health and safety as occupational injuries and diseases can negatively affect them and heavily impact your company. So make sure to take all the necessary preventive measures, as well as having responsive measures such as having first aid kits, or better yet occupational health workers, and.

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