3D illustration of Lungs - Part of Human Organic.

What is Occupational Lung Disease?

Occupational Lung Disease are conditions that have been caused or worsened by a someone’s occupation . Conditions are caused by inhaling mineral dusts. The severity of the disease is related to the dust inhaled and the duration of that exposure.

What are the Types of Occupational Lung Disease ?
There are a number of lung related illnesses that can be associated with previous work exposure. These involve the following :

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related illnesses
  • Pneumoconiosis

Apart from occupational asthma and other allergic respiratory diseases the above diseases have long latency periods where symptoms are generally not noticed until decades after exposure.

What are the Symptoms of Occupational Lung Disease?

The most common symptoms of Occupational Lung Disease may include:

  • Shortness of breath and a feeling of a tightness in the chest
  • Abnormal breathing pattern
  • Coughing and wheezing

It must be stressed that symptoms of Occupational Lung disease may resemble other medical conditions and it is vitally important that you consult your GP for a diagnosis.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone who has worked in industries having been exposed to dust and chemicals can be effected by lung disease exposure. Some of the known chemicals that that cause lung disease are the following :

  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Cadmium
  • Coal Dust
  • Diesel Exhaust
  • Nickel
  • Silica
  • Tobacco Smoke

What should your Employer do?

In the first instance the employers should as far as reasonably practicable ensure that any exposure with chemicals is avoided. If exposure can not be voided your employer should ensure that adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment is provided when you are exposed to any chemical that can knowingly cause injury to your health . This could include breathing apparatus and protective clothing .

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Tim Fieldhouse Head of Industrial Disease

Tim Fieldhouse

Head Of Industrial Disease

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