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Jackson & New Orleans Workers' Compensation / Blog / Workers Compensation / Top Five Occupational Diseases in Mississippi

Top Five Occupational Diseases in Mississippi


Occupational diseases are job-related illnesses which develop slowly over time. That time period could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few decades.

Even if the victim had a pre-existing or non-work-related condition which contributed to the occupational disease, full compensation is usually available. The victim must simply show that the pre-existing or other condition exacerbated the occupational disease, as opposed to the other way around.

This compensation usually includes money for lost wages and medical bills. Generally, these benefits are retroactive to the date the victim first filed a claim.

Hearing Loss

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and other hearing loss issues affect about a third of Americans. A significant number of these cases are work-related. If doctors identify the problem early enough, hearing loss is generally easy to correct. Today’s hearing aids are very discrete and very effective. But if the hearing loss is advanced and the ear muscles are damaged, surgery is usually the only option. These procedures involve significant risk, so not everyone is a candidate. And, not all surgeries are successful.

Hearing loss could be a workers’ compensation issue or a defective product issue. Many employers fail to give their workers the proper safety devices. Or, they do not properly encourage their use or clearly tell their workers how to use them. Other earplugs are defective, mostly because they do not completely cover the ear canal’s opening and they allow sound to seep through.

Respiratory Problems

Landscaping workers are particularly at risk for hearing loss, because many lawnmowers and other tools are quite noisy. These workers also risk respiratory problems, mostly because these machines release large amounts of benzoapyrene and other harmful fumes. Over time, these fumes could cause significant breathing problems.

Frequently, respiratory problems are difficult to detect in the early illness stages. Many victims believe that overexertion causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. As a result, they do not go to the doctor straightaway, and their work-related illnesses get worse.

Recurrent Joint Pain

Many warehouse workers spend much of their time bending, stooping, and kneeling. Over time, these motions cause undue stress on their knees, backs, ankles, and other joints. Employers are supposed to give these workers harnesses and other safety equipment. But employers do not always provide them or properly instruct workers in their use.

These problems are also common on construction sites. The construction industry is so competitive that a few dollars could be the difference between making money and losing money on a particular job. And, to many employers, worker safety is a tempting place to trim expenses.

On a related note, many construction sites in Mississippi have a large number of LEP (Limited English Proficiency) workers. These workers sometimes do not understand safety lectures and have a hard time telling their supervisors about safety problems.

Toxic Exposure

Construction sites, particularly demolition or renovation sites, are also some of the most common asbestos exposure environments. Builders extensively used this mineral as an insulator and fireproofing material, even after they knew about its toxic qualities. One microscopic asbestos fiber is sufficient to cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of heart/lung cancer.

Chemical burns are an issue at many processing plants. Toxic chemicals can burn ears, noses, and throats.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

CTS is like joint pain for office workers. The carpal tunnel is a narrow gap in the wrist bone. Key nerves pass through this tunnel. If the tunnel partially collapses, mostly because of excessive typing, the bone pinches the nerve, causing extreme pain and perhaps even paralysis.

Rest is about the only effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. So, wage replacement benefits are critical. Even a few weeks without pay could cause significant financial hardship for many Hinds County families. 

Reach Out to an Aggressive Attorney

Occupational disease victims might be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.




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