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Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
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Workplace illnesses and black lung disease

While Ohio has a wide variety of work industries and environments, one profession that is often thought of is mining. While this is a vital role in the U.S., it is also a line of work that could present many health and safety dangers to workers. Take, for example, black lung disease. Miners are often forced to breathe in harmful contaminates and, over time, could develop a serious condition.

Between the years of 1970 and 2016, four out of every five reported cases of black lung were miners working in central Appalachia. In fact, the most aggressive and deadly forms of this occupational illness increased sharply over the past two decades. Although current data indicates that the number of miners working in the U.S. has largely declined, the number of progressive massive fibrosis have increased.

During the timeframe of this study, researchers identified 4,679 cases, which over half of these cases identified in the last 21 years. Despite the number of coal mine workers declining by more than two-thirds, the number of workers suffering from black lung continues to rise. It is believed that the driving force for this increase is the overexposure to dust and changes in mining practices. This results in finer dust particles entering the lungs. It is presumed that the higher exposure of silica, which is more toxic to the lungs, has caused the increase in those diagnosed with black lung disease.

Whether a person works in a mine or not, suffering a workplace illness can be a serious and life-altering experience. It is vital to consider what options a person might have to address this workplace illness. Workers' compensation can assist workers. It can provide the financial assistance to address medical bills, lost wages and other losses.

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