Workplace illnesses continue to be a serious threat to the well-being of Connecticut workers. According to a report released on Labor Day by the University of Connecticut, occupational illnesses continue to be a serious and under-reported health issue for workers in the state.
Many factories and other industries in Bridgeport and other parts of Connecticut have to use chemicals and other toxic substances as part of their business. While this might be understandable, employers have an obligation to make their workers' safety a priority.
Many people in Connecticut regard the threat formerly posed by asbestos as virtually non-existent. While the use of asbestos as a construction and insulation material has been significantly reduced over the last 30 years, it still causes a number of workplace illnesses. A recent settlement between the state of Massachusetts and four asbestos removal firms, including one based in Connecticut, provides evidence that asbestos still poses a threat to construction workers, remodelers and persons who live or work in buildings that were originally built using asbestos.
Demolition workers face some of the most hazardous working conditions imaginable. By its nature, demolition work can fill the air with a number of toxic substances which can cause workplace illnesses. This hazard is serious by itself, but demolition work is made even more dangerous because workers are often unaware of the nature of the toxic substances they may be releasing. Even when the hazards are known, some employers fail to take sufficient steps to eliminate or reduce them. For example, a demolition contractor based in Plainville, Connecticut, has been cited by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations on a job site in New Hampshire.
In the summer of 2016, Congress passed an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to identify the 10 most hazardous chemicals based upon their potential for causing illness. The EPA published the list on November 29, 2016. Now the Trump administration is seriously undercutting the effectiveness of the amendment by refusing to include so-called "legacy" uses and long-term exposure to toxic chemicals in its review of the dangers of these chemicals.
Many people in Connecticut depend upon their hands to earn a living. Brick layers, carpenters, factory workers, and administrative assistants are only a few examples of such occupations. For anyone in one of these occupations, an injury to the hand can have a devastating impact on their earning capacity. One of the most debilitating injuries that can affect the hands is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Last year, Congress amended the Toxic Substances Control Act to require the Environmental Protection Agency to identify the 10 most hazardous chemicals or other substances that present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment and to propose regulations to control their use. The EPA has just released its risk assessment for asbestos, a chemical that is widely recognized as a leading cause of serious and often fatal workplace illnesses. This risk assessment will have a significant impact on Connecticut and its large population of older buildings.
Nature provides Connecticut residents with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh meat and dairy products can be purchased from local markets as well as a variety of other products that come in boxes, bags and cans. While health experts battle over what types of diets and food plans are the healthiest for humans many agree that eating whole, natural foods is a better option that relying on processed products.
Advances in manufacturing have not only led to an increase in the number of products that Connecticut residents can buy and use but also in the number of jobs available to those who wish to earn a living. Manufacturing jobs can be highly skilled and can provide individuals with stable wages on which their families can thrive. However, as manufacturing techniques have changed and improved since the early ages of industrialization, so too have the possible threats that individuals can face with engaging in such forms of employment.
Workplace accidents and injuries happen in every industry and place of employment. However, not all Connecticut workers may realize how prevalent the problem of workplace illnesses is for Bridgeport residents and others throughout the state. There are a variety of ways that workers may contract illnesses from their places of employment, and in some cases the losses workers sustain from their workplace illnesses may be compensable.