October is National Healthy Lung Month, an opportune time for workers and employers to take steps to improve workplace safety and reduce instances of occupational illness. According to the Lung Institute (LI), millions of workers are diagnosed with work-related lung diseases each year. During Healthy Lung Month, LI hopes to increase awareness about lung disease and the ways in which it can be prevented.
Construction workers, first responders, miners, painters, and welders are among the professions at high risk for lung disease and other respiratory illnesses due to their regular exposure to respirable toxins. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (RPS) applies to the general, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and construction industries.
The RPS requires employers to assist in the prevention of occupational diseases caused by breathing contaminated air. When engineering controls such as enclosure, ventilation, or substitution are not feasible, employers must provide workers with the appropriate respirators for the job.
Under the RPS, employers must identify and evaluate the respiratory hazards in the workplace and implement respiratory protection programs whenever respirators are necessary to protect the health of employees. Such programs should include selection and fit-testing procedures for respirators, training on the proper use and maintenance of respirators, and methods for regular evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.
Work-Related Lung Diseases
Many types of pulmonary diseases are caused by work-related exposures to dust, fumes, gases, and vapors. Typically, these illnesses develop over time, after repeated exposure, and have long latency periods. Some common types of occupational lung diseases include:
- Black Lung/ Pneumoconiosis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Interstitial lung diseases
- Lung cancer
Workers’ Compensation for Lung Disease in Pennsylvania
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees suffering from work-related illnesses may be eligible to receive various types of benefits, including payment for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Family members of workers who died due to an occupational disease may also be entitled to death benefits, including a percentage of the deceased worker’s pre-injury average weekly wages. It is important for claimants to protect the viability of their claims by meeting all deadlines and requirements; it is therefore advisable to contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer or an attorney in your local area to discuss your legal rights and options.
Insurers often deny claims for pre-existing illnesses like asthma. However, Pennsylvania workers should be aware that pre-existing conditions are covered under the Act as long as they were aggravated by the worker’s job duties or environment. Therefore, workers who already have asthma may be eligible for workers’ compensation if their condition was worsened by their job or work environment, regardless of what caused the pre-existing asthma.
Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Lung Disease
If you have a work-related lung disease or your pre-existing lung condition was worsened by your work duties or environment, contact a Reading workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our experienced attorneys represent all types of workers in work injury, occupational illness, and pre-existing injury claims throughout the state from our offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading. Contact us online or call us at 888-PITT-LAW for a free consultation.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.