Occupational Hazards: When Is It Time to Call a Lawyer?

What is meant by “occupational hazard”? How can you tell if your workplace is unsafe before an accident happens? When is it time to contact an attorney with experience in occupational hazard cases?

We here at D’Amico Law Offices have an extensive history of winning justice and fair compensation for workers injured on the job, including cases of asbestos-related cancer. We’ve compiled this primer on occupational hazards, which answers questions like the ones above. Call us at (412) 652-9300 if you need more specific information.

Table of Contents

A construction worker operates wearing safety gear, with potential danger from the crane above him and a fall below.

What Is an Occupational Hazard? Definition and Examples

An occupational hazard is any risk that is accepted as part of one’s occupation or profession which may cause disease, injury, or death if not protected against. However, just because you accept that there are certain risks associated with your job does not mean that you should expect injury or a lack of safety protections. Risk can be minimized.

To better understand what is meant by occupational hazards, here are examples of dangerous yet essential jobs, and how their risks can be well-managed:

Offshore and Outdoor Jobs

Those who work in construction, farming, logging, on ships, or in oil fields face dangers from multiple directions. First, the heavy electrical tools and large machinery involved in these jobs are dangerous even under ideal circumstances. Those dangers are compounded by outdoor work, which often includes environmental hazards. Extreme weather like heat and glare, or cold and ice bring unique issues. Also unstable surfaces like tree branches, ocean waves, or swinging beams may heighten endangerment.

Protections: Outerwear like hardhats, thick gloves, and steel-toed boots may be necessary to reduce the risk of harm, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) like goggles and earplugs. Harnesses are vital for those working high above stable ground. Safety practices like spotters, proper communication protocols, and alert managers could mean the difference between team safety and individual injury.

The more dangers, the more protocols and failsafes should be in place to stop every preventable injury. Accidents happen, but injuries that occur due to negligence are consequences of inaction, and may necessitate legal intervention. Call D’Amico Law Offices at (412) 652-9300 if you need representation.

Plumbing and Electrical Work

Few things contribute to modern civilization as much as sanitary plumbing and the electrical grid. Without secure plumbing, diseases are far more likely to spread among populations, and without electricity, food spoils and families are at risk of freezing or suffering heat stroke. These modern marvels are not possible without skilled workers willing to do dirty jobs.

Protections: For jobs that involve biohazards like plumbing or the risk of electrical shock, gloves and safety gear should be readily available and in excellent condition. Workers should be made aware of and protected from environmental dangers, like lead or asbestos exposure risks from old plumbing fixtures. The proper working tools for the job are also necessary, such as insulated equipment for electrical workers, and monitoring devices that can measure voltage or methane concentrations.

Because independent contractors are not often covered by workers compensation, it’s vital that plumbers or electricians speak to a knowledgeable attorney about their rights regarding workplace injury. Your employer may misclassify or take advantage of your independent status, or you may need legal support when dealing with self-employed insurance coverage. Call D’Amico Law Offices at (412) 652-9300 to discuss your circumstances and the coverage support you need.

Doctors and nurses meet to discuss patient care while wearing protective masks, coats, and scrubs.

Healthcare Jobs

If you work in a hospital, nursing home, or clinic as a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or janitor, you likely experience regular exposure to occupational hazards, particularly with biohazardous materials. This is true when working with human patients, or in an animal shelter/veterinary office. Pathogens or parasites can be transferred through blood, vomit, fecal matter, semen, and saliva. Though there is a risk in helping patients and sterilizing life-saving facilities, it is nevertheless vital and often heroic work.

Protections: The protections you deserve include PPE like masks, gloves, and gowns. Necessary protections also include supplies like sanitizing agents, and procedures like safe containment of used needles and bandages. 

If you contract a communicable disease while performing your job, or suffer a slip-and-fall injury due to failures in cleaning practices, it’s in your best interest to contact an occupational hazard attorney right away. An experienced lawyer from D’Amico Law Offices can help you navigate any workers compensation you’re entitled to, and can note instances of possibile negligence that deserve to be legally addressed.

Factory Labor

Working conditions in factories have the potential to be streamlined and safely efficient, but that isn’t always the case in practice. Machinists, chemical manufacturers, food production workers, and all those who work in large factories may be at risk from the equipment they manage or from the materials they handle.

Protections: PPE should be provided when appropriate, including shoe covers, face masks, and hair nets. Safety devices should be in place, whether they come in the form of railings, vat covers, or tools that allow workers to avoid close contact with dangerous machine parts. In workplaces with high levels of heat, steam, or chemicals, safety means monitors for temperature/toxicity, ventilation, and appropriate cooling mechanisms or mandatory breaks for workers.

If you’ve been injured due to a lack of safety at your workplace, or have questions about whether your workplace is violating your rights and endangering the safety of you and your coworkers, reach out to an occupational hazard lawyer. We at D’Amico Law Offices can be reached by calling (412) 652-9300, or by filling out our online contact form.

A food production employee works among large machines while wearing a face mask and hair net.

Transportation Jobs

Truckers and ship workers are the lifeblood of commerce and world-wide operations. Not only must workers be adept at handling massive vehicles or vessels, they must also adapt to a constantly changing environment: busy roads or turbulent seas. There are unique occupational hazards associated with each.

Protections: To borrow a phrase, proper training is the ounce of prevention that’s worth a pound of cure. Not only should you receive specialized training, it should be part of the job and compensated as such, not mandatory for you to complete on your own time and dime. Safety also involves regular maintenance of your rig, and following mandatory rest periods during and between jobs. Suspension of work should occur when weather conditions are too unsafe to operate, but such suspensions should not penalize you or your pay.

If you’ve been injured on the job and need professional advice and advocacy to make sure you’re being treated fairly, call D’Amico Law Offices at (​​412) 652-9300 to have your questions answered and possibly secure representation.

Whatever support you need to heal or hold your family together, D’Amico Law Offices is a family-run firm ready to dedicate all our resources to your case. Call us at (412) 851-6397 today to discuss your circumstances, and the options available to move forward.

How Can an Occupational Hazard Settlement Help You?

Depending on the type and severity of a workplace injury, settlements or damages awards could include the following forms of compensation.

  • Medical bills: This includes hospital and doctor visits, specialist appointments, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any medical devices required for treatment. Psychological therapy for you and your loved ones may also fall under this consideration, as emotional support is also part of the healing process.
  • Lost wages: Many workplace injuries put people out of work until they can recover. The loss of wages, advancement opportunities, pensions, 401(k) plans, healthcare coverage, and other wage-related benefits can be calculated by your attorney. 
  • Loss of the ability to generate wages in the future: With injuries that cause permanent disability, a person may lose their potential to work and earn wages entirely. Changes to one’s physical or mental capacity could also mean an inability to perform high-wage jobs, and instead relegate a worker to low- or minimum-wage positions going forward.
  • Pain and suffering: Physical pain and visible injuries are often easily understood in a legal setting, but an experienced attorney also knows how to articulate emotional and psychic anguish. Unseen suffering causes real stress-related illnesses and harm to family health and cohesion.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive charges are meant to punish bad actors, and may be issued at a judge’s discretion. If an attorney shows your injury was due to negligence or reckless disregard for your health, the punitive damages taken from the wrongdoers may then be awarded to you.
  • Wrongful death support: In cases where an occupational hazard injury leads to death (a fall, a heart attack, or cancer from asbestos exposure), a settlement could address not only economic concerns like funeral and burial costs, but also the non-economic human costs of losing a spouse, a parent, or a child. 

Whatever support you need to heal or hold your family together, D’Amico Law Offices is a family-run firm ready to dedicate all our resources to your case. Call us at (412) 652-9300 today to discuss your circumstances, and the options available to move forward.

Client Reviews for D’Amico Law Offices

Hear from those who’ve had first-hand experience with D’Amico Law Offices:

Gary G.
Mike handled a mesothelioma case for a family member and did a wonderful job. He was patient, caring, and accommodating, which was crucial as our family was dealing with the deterioration and ultimate passing of our loved one. Mike was respectful and always honored the decisions and direction the family ultimately arrived at. In the terrible case that your family is in a similar situation as ours was, Mike would be an excellent choice.

Niedz D.
I have had the pleasure of working with Mike D’Amico for roughly two years now. He and his family have experience with mesothelioma, personal injury, asbestos cancer, and medical malpractice. I would recommend Attorney Mike D’Amico and D’Amico Law offices to anyone looking for a family-run environment which understands how important the health and well-being of your family are to you!

J.S.
I had the pleasure of working with Michael, but primarily Anthony D’Amico as my attorney. He’s trustworthy, professional, and keeps all information 110% confidential, looking out for only his client regardless of who the other attorney is and what you’re up against. Mr. D’Amico has bent over backwards for my case and only strives for the absolute best possible outcome.

Contact Occupational Hazard Attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices

Jobs that come with occupationals hazards are often the most essential jobs. The risk is worth the reward when it comes to building strong homes, delivering necessary goods, providing healthcare, and keeping the rest of the population clean, fed, and thriving. 

Those who do the hard jobs that provide so many others with comfort have earned more than the bare minimum. Your safety should be a top priority, and your access to support when you need it should not be impeded. 

If you’ve been harmed due to an occupational hazard, meaning during the normal performance of your job you’ve suffered an injury or acquired an adverse health condition, call an attorney today. The occupational hazard lawyers at D’Amico Law Offices can be reached via our online contact form or by calling (412) 652-9300. We’re proud to work on behalf of workers who deserve justice.

Occupational Hazards FAQs

An occupational hazard is any risk that is accepted as part of one’s occupation or profession. This could include exposure to toxic chemicals or biohazards, environmental dangers surrounding outdoor or offshore jobs, and mechanical injuries in factories. However, risk can be minimized, and a hazardous job should not be unsafe for workers.

Examples of professions that entail exposure to occupational hazards include:

  • Offshore and outdoor jobs
  • Plumbing and electrical work
  • Healthcare jobs
  • Factory labor
  • Transportation jobs

A settlement or damages award could help with:

  • Medical bills and follow-up care
  • Lost wages and work-related benefits 
  • Loss of the ability to generate wages in the future
  • Pain and suffering, including seen and unseen (psychological) injuries
  • Punitive damages or “punishment” fees charged to those who acted with negligence or recklessness
  • Wrongful death support for funeral and burial costs

Yes — D’Amico Law Offices is a family-run firm that has successfully represented those injured on the job in steel factories, those exposed to toxic asbestos fibers, and families who’ve lost a loved one to work-related cancer (mesothelioma). If you’ve been injured due to an occupational hazard at your job, call us at (412) 652-9300 to discuss your rights.