What Illnesses are Common Among Maritime Workers?
Maritime work is strenuous and demanding, and workers often suffer from injuries, such as sprains, strains, and broken bones. Yet, maritime workers are also exposed to more serious hazards, including chronic illnesses. Some chronic illnesses that have been associated with maritime work include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition, which involves high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure puts people at an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, strokes, and more. The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk. Many marine workers suffer from this condition. It is believed that stress, fatigue, and loneliness are risk factors that make hypertension more likely. A poor diet can also contribute to the condition.
In the maritime industry, there has been a gradual increase of workers getting cancer, despite many known carcinogens being removed or no longer used on vessels. The most common cancers are lung, kidney, and blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Over time, the use of known carcinogens, such as asbestos and benzene, have been discontinued on ships. However, there are still numerous toxins and potentially cancerous chemicals used on ships today, including cadmium and lead. Working in an engine room is particularly hazardous. In addition, those working on oil rigs or chemical tankers have a higher risk of developing brain cancer and leukemia. Lack of sleep and smoking are aggravating factors that increase the risk of developing cancer.
What is a Repetitive Motion Injury?
Some illnesses found among maritime workers can be traced to repetitive motions, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). MSDs can arise from a number of activities. However, holding the body in an awkward position or repeatedly flexing the same set of muscles repeatedly for an extended period of time produces strain on the muscles and skeletal structure. Depending on the job being performed, repetitive actions are performed routinely by maritime workers, sometimes for extended shifts that are up to 12 hours.
HAVS occurs when workers handle power tools that produce vibrations down their hands and arms. Frequent and prolonged use of these tools can result in permanent nerve damage. Symptoms of HAVS include tingling or numbness in the fingers and hands. At times, this can cause Raynaud’s syndrome, this is where the fingers turn white from lack of blood circulation. This condition is exacerbated by exposure to cold temperatures, which frequently occurs on ships.
What Infectious Diseases Can Maritime Workers Contract?
Maritime work often involves visiting many ports in different parts of the world. Workers can be exposed to a variety of communicable diseases as a result. Marine workers are at risk of diseases, such as malaria, cholera, Ebola, and other unexpected diseases. Similarly, maritime workers can be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or HIV/AIDS. Having scant medical care available on board, combined with the lack of replacements to handle the workload if someone gets sick, makes the dangers of these diseases even greater for maritime workers.
If you are a maritime worker that has developed an illness because of your job, it is beneficial to contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer immediately. A lawyer who handles maritime law cases will be able to assess your case and help you obtain compensation.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Maritime Workers Obtain Compensation for Their Injuries
If you are a maritime worker and suffer from a condition or disease you believe is caused by your work, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. will fight for your rights. Contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962 for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.