Many careers are accompanied with the risk of potential hazards and injury. Welding, in particular, can lend itself to some serious risks due to the constant exposure to heat and synthetic materials. Recently, Scottish comedian and movie actor Billy Connolly was diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Connolly worked as a welder in Scotland decades ago. It is not uncommon for a welder to file a suit against a former employer after sustaining severe lung damage from carcinogenic welding fumes, resulting in permanent damage, ongoing pain and thousands of dollars in medical fees. Even today, some employers do not provide welders with safety equipment, proper health warnings or adequate supervision.
Toxic Exposure in Welding Is Not a Rare Case
Cases like these are not rare. So far, about 10,000 welders have filed lawsuits against former employers just for manganese-induced Parkinson’s disease. This doesn’t include any other illness or disease. According to the National Safety Council, welders are exposed to welding fumes every time they work that can cause a number of diseases and symptoms such as:
- Dry throat, tightness in chest and cough
- Fatigue, weakness and mental confusion
- Fever or vomiting
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Lower back pain
- Rales (rattling or cracking noises in the lungs)
- Spastic gait
- Parkinson’s disease
The leading cause of these symptoms, manganese, is an element essential to human health but in high amounts, like what welders are exposed to, can cause manganese poisoning.
How to Be Safe When Working as a Welder
To avoid further lawsuits and health risks, many welding companies are taking measures to keep their employees safe. When applying for a welding job, make sure the place of employment provides the following:
- Respirators for each employee
- Proper ventilation; this includes downdrafts, ceiling fans, and other fans
- Training and physical exams
- An on-site industrial hygienist to ensure health measures are followed
- Alternative welding methods, such as low-fume rods
Are You a Welder With Lung Injuries?
Many welders aren’t aware of the legal help that is provided to them. If you experience any of the symptoms above, have your doctor check your symptoms. There are many law firms around the Atlanta, GA area that specialize in workplace injury. Chemical substance exposure in welding definitely qualifies for this.
There are many risks to becoming a welder. Most places of employment are making changes to keep their workers safe, but unfortunately there are many past welders who have been exposed to harmful chemicals. If you and your doctor believe you have been exposed, make sure you take charge of your legal rights. You may be able to receive compensation for your suffering and medical bills. Talk to a personal injury attorney experienced in toxic exposure to find out your options for compensation.