Maritime workers perform an array of jobs throughout the industry. They conduct electrical work, fish and weld in addition to many other tasks. Regardless of the specialty, these hard-working men and women are often exposed to hazardous chemicals that can wreak havoc on the body.
Asbestos and other toxic chemicals are prevalent in the maritime industry. Prolonged exposure to such chemicals can result in various forms of lung disease. Having such a condition is painful and costly to treat. Contact a maritime lawyer if you believe your lung disease is related to your time in the maritime industry.
Lung Disease Maritime Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska
Lung disease is not an illness with a short-term treatment plan. Having such a disease has a dramatic impact on your life and will require continuous treatment. You should not be left paying out of pocket to treat your illness, especially if it’s the result of someone else’s negligence.
BoatLaw, LLP will aggressively advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you need to treat your lung disease. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. We represent injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.
- Types of Lung Disease
- What is Asbestos?
- Do Workers Have the Right to Know of Chemical Hazards?
- Additional Resources
Types of Lung Disease
Maritime workers are exposed to many toxic chemicals and hazardous materials. Inhaling these dangerous substances can lead to the development of various types of lung disease. Lung disease comes in all shapes and forms. It can range from something as moderate as bronchitis to as severe as mesothelioma.
Lung diseases can be broken down into the following categories:
- Lung tissue diseases: Examples of lung tissue diseases include sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis. Lung tissue diseases cause scarring and inflammation of the tissue, which prevents the lungs from fully expanding. This makes deep breathing nearly impossible and can make it feel as if you are wearing a tight vest.
- Airway diseases: Airway diseases can include pulmonary aspiration, asthma and restrictive lung disease. As the name implies, airway disease affects the lung’s airways and result in blocked or narrow airways. Individuals with an airway disease describe it as trying to breathe through a straw.
- Lung circulation diseases: An example of a lung circulation disease is pulmonary hypertension. This type of lung disease causes clotting, inflammation or scarring of blood vessels. Lung circulation diseases also affect the organ’s ability to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. It can also impact the function of the heart.
No matter the illness, lung disease can have a detrimental toll on the body. Contact BoatLaw, LLP if you believe your lung disease is the result of working in the maritime industry.
What is Asbestos?
At one point, asbestos was considered a “magic mineral.” Canada equated the hazardous material to gold and believed it would bring prosperity and wealth. Now, after miners exposed to the chemical began coughing up blood, asbestos exposure is synonymous with deadly lung diseases.
Asbestos is not a single mineral. Instead, it’s made up of a group of silicate like materials sharing the same fibrous nature. What makes asbestos so dangerous is the fact it cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, and it cannot be dissolved once it enters the body. Over time, the trapped asbestos can lead to inflammation, scaring and eventually genetic damage, which can result in cancer.
Asbestos-related lung disease can take 20-50 years to develop, which means most of the diagnoses today was the result of exposure before modern safety regulations took effect. Occupational exposure is the leading cause of asbestos-related lung disease and the number one cause of occupational cancer.
In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed asbestos exposure was the leading cause of mesothelioma. Typically, the disease will attack the lungs, but it’s been known to attack the abdomen and heart as well. There are three variations of mesothelioma, all of which are linked to asbestos exposure. These variations include:
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
Anyone who’s worked around asbestos is at risk of developing one of these devastating forms of mesothelioma cancer. A vast number of maritime workers are thought to be at risk for mesothelioma since asbestos was widely used for so long. You may be eligible for compensation if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Do Workers Have a Right to Know of Chemical Hazards?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant industrial workers the right to know about possible chemical hazards in the workplace. Your employer is required to notify you and other occupants of chemical hazards, mainly asbestos, when they are present.
An employer must inform workers of the hazard in one of the following ways:
- A sign posted at the entrance of a room/area where work with the hazardous chemical is being done
- Labels attached to products and containers containing hazardous materials
- Notification of asbestos work when working in or near an area where the material will be present
All work involving asbestos must be conducted within a regulated area. These areas are required to be marked and only trained and authorized persons wearing the proper protective gear may be present.
Additional Resources for Lung Diseases
Hazard Communication in the Maritime Industry | OSHA – View a fact sheet provided by OSHA describing the hazard communication requirements for work in the maritime industry. You can find hazard regulations for marine terminals, shipyards and longshoring. OHSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for workplace safety.
Asbestos | OSHA – Follow the link provided to learn more about asbestos. You can gain access to materials that may contain the mineral, OHSA standards relating to training and medical surveillance and workers rights.
Lung Disease Maritime Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska
Lung disease is one of the biggest threats to maritime workers. It may take years for the illness to develop, but once it’s there, it’s difficult to resolve. BoatLaw, LLP understands your concerns in these trying times, and we are here to help.
Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. BoatLaw, LLP has over 40 years of experience representing maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.