Workers in Oklahoma who work in environments where excessive exposure to dust occur can end up with life-threatening lung diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict safety standards in place to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Sadly, not all employers prioritize profit margins instead of worker safety, and many workers are not provided with personal protective equipment such as respirators.
Pneumoconiosis is the term used for several lung diseases, including silicosis and asbestosis. The dust of asbestos and silica become airborne when disturbed, and inhalation takes it deep into the lungs of workers. Once attached to the inside of the lungs, these diseases as well as cancer become a significant risk. Although there is no cure for pneumoconiosis, it can be prevented.
The severity of the disease can vary, and learning to identify the symptoms might limit the risk. However, symptoms may remain hidden at first, and when it becomes evident, it might have progressed to a serious disease. At the first signs of a dry cough, chest tightness, breathing problems and a feeling of being winded even when he or she is resting, the worker should seek medical care. Leaving it untreated could lead to death.
The treatment of pneumoconiosis is typically focused on decreasing symptoms, limiting further damage and preventing further deterioration of quality of life. Although the Oklahoma workers’ compensation system covers workplace injuries and illnesses, the process could be complicated. This is because lung diseases are progressive, and proving them to be work-related might need the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.