Two Louisiana Professions Likely to Expose You to Toxins
When you have a job that requires you to work around dust, fibers, chemicals or fumes, you are put at risk for developing an occupational disease. There are thousands of potentially dangerous workplace chemicals. Some studies have shown that 4% to 10% of all cancers in the United States are caused by work exposures.
There are certain jobs are just inherently dangerous to workers because they have a high rate of physical accidents or because they necessarily expose workers to deadly toxins. Here in Louisiana, we have several important industries that are dangerous for workers on both fronts.
Here are just 2 of them.
- Shipbuilding and Shipyards
Long ago, Louisiana’s many waterways and rich natural resources, including the Mississippi River, and its oil and gas resources gave rise to the offshore and inland marine industries, along with the shipyards that build and maintain the vessels that travel those waterways. Now, tens of thousands of workers are employed in the maritime and shipbuilding industries.
But few would dispute the fact that jobs in this industry can be dangerous. Working in a variety of shipyard jobs exposes workers to risk of injury and toxic substances as well.
One of the worst shipyard toxins is asbestos. Because asbestos resists corrosion and is also heat-resistant, it has been used in the shipbuilding industry for years to insulate boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes and steam pipes. Men and women who work in Louisiana’s shipyards as shipfitters, machinists, pipefitters, electricians, boilermakers and painters, run the risk of asbestos exposure.
- Oil & Gas
According to report by the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, “Energy Sector: A Giant Economic Engine for the Louisiana Economy,” the oil and gas industry in Louisiana supports more than $12 billion in salaries and 320,280 direct and indirect jobs.
But to say that working in the oil and gas industry is dangerous is almost an understatement. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), between 2003 and 2010 there were 823 worker deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry across the United States. That rate makes oil and gas seven times deadlier to work in than all other industries.
In addition to accidents, the oil and gas industry exposes workers to toxic chemicals like: silica; Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) – a colorless toxic gas; drilling fluids; asbestos and even mercury.
People have to make a living, of course, and Louisiana relies on the shipyard and oil and gas industries for its economy. Yet the health and safety of its workers in these industries is of paramount concern. If you work in one of these industries, it is critical that you take all precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxins in your workplace.
Local Louisiana Attorneys
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