What are occupational diseases?
In Minnesota, you have the right to be protected against occupational diseases. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, an occupational disease is a condition caused by your work environment. This could include a range of things, such as lung disease, repetitive stress injuries or cancer. Such conditions often take time to develop and occur due to consistent and prolonged exposure to the source causing the disease.
Employers are required by law to take certain measures to ensure you are not exposed to things that could result in an occupational illness. This includes eliminating exposure, adjusting work duties to limit exposure and providing proper safety training. There are many government agencies also tasked with assisting employers in ensuring your workplace is safe, such as OSHA. However, before protective steps can be taken hazards have to be identified.
In the past, identifying issues only occurred once people started getting sick. Once an epidemic of illness occurred, officials took notice and began investigating. There were not laws in place, though, so sometimes issues were covered up. Today, more proactive steps are taken to protect you and laws are in place to ensure you are not needlessly exposed to harm. Work environments are constantly monitored and known risks are addressed before they become dangerous.
The reality remains that some industries are naturally more dangerous than others. In these situations, safety measures are put in place to limit exposure. This may include running tests to monitor levels of toxins in the air and using special protective gear while you are working. Luckily, there is more known now than ever in history about dangers lurking on job sites, so many occupational diseases can be prevented.