Industrial Disease

Many people have heard of, or been affected by what is known as “industrial disease.” Industrial Disease is condition in which a worker/employee forms a disease after being exposed to a chemical or toxin that has been discharged by business/industry into their environment. Some examples include Leukaemia (from electromagnetic radiation), cataracts (from prolonged exposure to red or white hot objects), dysbarism (from exposure to compressed or rarefied air/gases), task specific focal dystonia (from prolonged periods of handwriting, typing, etc), deafness (from prolonged exposure to loud noises), Mesothelioma (from prolonged exposure to asbestos dust), hepatitis A (from exposure to raw sewage), Hydatidosis (from exposure to dogs), as well as many other types of diseases. In some of these situations/job functions, the disease is not due to negligence of the business, but rather an inherent side-affect well known to the employee before taking the job. This would include such things as doctors or veterinarians contracting diseases from patients.However, the more dangerous diseases are ones that could either be prevented by the businesses, or that were previously unknown to either the employer or the employee until much later when the disease has metastasized. Some examples of preventable industrial disease would be such things as wearing inhalation masks in coal mines to prevent “coal miner’s lung”. Another example would be requiring hearing protection on construction sites to prevent hearing loss. These diseases can easily be prevented by the business/employers by educating the workers and/or requiring safety measures to be addressed. The more difficult situations occur when neither the business nor the worker is aware that exposure to certain toxins can cause harm to the person.A recent example of this is Asbestos dust. In the early to mid 20th century, it was not known that this dust could cause cancer after prolonged inhalation. Now it has been proven that it can, and many workers have sued their former employers for this. All in all, industrial diseases can be very traumatic and/or fatal to employees. Anyone looking to take a job should thoroughly research any dangers that might be inherent to its environment. (note: disease list referenced from http://www.dwp.gov.uk. More diseases can be found at this website)