occupational disease

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

occupational disease

occupational disease, illness incurred because of the conditions or environment of employment. Unlike with accidents, some time usually elapses between exposure to the cause and development of symptoms. In some instances, symptoms may not become evident for 20 years or more.

Sources of Occupational Disease

Among the environmental causes of occupational disease are subjection to extremes of temperature (leading to heatstroke or frostbite), unusual dampness (causing diseases of the respiratory tract, skin, or muscles and joints) or changes in atmospheric pressure (causing decompression sickness, or the bends), excessive noise (see noise pollution), and exposure to infrared or ultraviolet radiation or to radioactive substances. The widespread use of X rays, radium, and materials essential to the production of nuclear power has led to an especial awareness of the dangers of radiation sickness; careful checking of equipment and the proper protection of all personnel are now mandatory.

In addition there are hundreds of industries in which metal dusts, chemical substances, and unusual exposure to infective substances constitute occupational hazards. The most common of the dust- and fiber-inspired disorders are the lung diseases caused by silica, beryllium, bauxite, and iron ore to which miners, granite workers, and many others are exposed (see pneumoconiosis) and those caused by asbestos.

Fumes, smoke, and toxic liquids from a great number of chemicals are other occupational dangers. Carbon monoxide, carbon tetrachloride, chlorine, creosote, cyanides, dinitrobenzene, mercury, lead, phosphorus, and nitrous chloride are but a few of the substances that on entering through the skin, respiratory tract, or digestive tract cause serious and often fatal illness.

Occupational hazards also are presented by infective sources. Persons who come into contact with infected animals in a living or deceased state are in danger of acquiring such diseases as anthrax and tularemia. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel are prime targets for the tuberculosis bacillus and for many other infectious organisms.

Worker Protection

Recognition of the effects of working under deleterious conditions and with harmful substances has resulted in efforts to protect workers from exposure to them. Legislation to prevent or limit the occurrence of occupational disease dates from the Factory Act in England in 1802. Prevention of unhealthy or unsafe working conditions and oversight of healthy and safe workplaces are the responsibility in the United States of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as many state agencies. Many occupational abuses have been redressed by litigation and legislation in the United States, and workers' compensation takes care, by a system of insurance, of those who suffer from occupational diseases.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

occupational disease
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.