Manufacturing is a tough job. Whether you are working as an order picker, assembly technician, machine operator or another role, you know how fast-paced and demanding the work environment can be. Jobs need to be performed quickly and there are a lot of potential hazards that you need to be aware of.
Lung-related illnesses are one of them. Unfortunately, they’re more common than many people realize.
An Under-Diagnosed Problem
Some workplaces cause well-known lung problems, such as black lung disease in coal miners or mesothelioma in people who have worked with asbestos. However, many more conditions can be caused or worsened by a person’s workplace. After looking at dozens of studies from all over the world, a group of researchers recently found that work-related lung problems are greatly under-reported. People usually know that they have the conditions, but they don’t realize that their job had something to do with it.
Depending on the kind of manufacturing work you do, you could experience a flare-up of any of the following:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Chronic bronchitis
Manufacturing can exacerbate other conditions as well. A plant or warehouse will often expose workers to various kinds of dust, chemicals and other irritants in the air. Without proper protection, some of these substances can permanently enter your body through your lungs and cause long-term health problems.
Common Symptoms Of Lung-Related Illnesses
The exact disease you have will determine what symptoms you experience. Following up with your doctor is always a good idea if you are dealing with:
- Regular shortness of breath that gets worse when you are more active
- Persistent coughing
- Pain or tightness in your chest
- Irregular breathing
Any of these symptoms could indicate a serious underlying condition that requires treatment.
What Workers Should Do After Exposure
To preserve your health, the safest thing to do is to use all available safety precautions while you are at work. This could include proper ventilation, safety masks or other equipment, depending on your job. By keeping harmful substances out of your lungs, you will minimize your risk for long-term health problems.
However, you may already be experiencing the effects of long-term exposure. If you are – or if you’re not sure – consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney is always a good idea. Many people are eligible to receive benefits because of lung problems caused by their job, but they just don’t realize it. A capable attorney can help you to know for sure.