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Work-related illness figures still high in Connecticut

It may disappoint workers in Fairfield County that figures for work-related illnesses and diseases are alarmingly high in the state. Occupational illness and disease are of serious concern to safety regulatory authorities. In order to highlight the importance of applying safety laws to curb work-related illnesses, Connecticut, as well as other independent organizations, have completed research and studies supporting the cause.

Although there has been a decline in occupational illnesses in Connecticut, the number of workers getting ill on the job is still quite high with respect to the national average, according to a newly published state report. Connecticut landed at number 15 among the 41 states and territories that supply data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report states that an alarming number of workplace illnesses can be attributed to the higher productivity rates in Connecticut. Connecticut residents reportedly work harder than residents in many other states and working longer hours lead to higher exposure to harmful chemicals and substances. The report underlines that it is quite difficult to measure occupational illness so underreporting of illnesses is quite probable. The actual figures of workplace illnesses may be considerably very higher than what was reported.

According to statistics, in 2010, more than 50 percent of occupational diseases and illnesses came from the education, health and manufacturing areas. The figures of illness in the public sector are also surprisingly very high. Firefighters, health care workers and employees who use computers excessively are said to be at higher risk of occupational diseases and illnesses.

Workers and employees have a right to expect a reasonably safe and healthy work environment. If employers fail to provide safe working conditions, it may cause harm to the employees' life and health. Employers should ensure that they comply with the regulations and standards set by the authorities. Employers who are negligent are under obligation by law to compensate employees and workers who contract illnesses and diseases on-the-job.

Source: Ctmirror.org, "On-the-job illness in Connecticut declining, but still high," Grace Merritt, Nov. 30, 2012

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