When people think about reasons that employees seek workers’ comp benefits, onsite accidents, motor vehicle crashes, and even assaults may come to mind. Yet, it is rare that people strongly associate the need for workers’ compensation with exposure to everyday workplace conditions.
In theory, workers’ comp covers work-related harm caused by employment activities, regardless of the kind of physical harm in question. Yet, partially because occupational illness and aggravation of preexisting conditions are so hard to definitively prove as employment-related, most people don’t tend to think they should apply for benefits when they first start getting sick.
Workplace air quality in the U.S. is notoriously bad
Air quality is one of those passive influences that people don’t usually think much about but that can end up affecting their lives in profound ways. And, unfortunately, the air quality in many American workplaces may be making employees sick without their knowledge.
There is, interestingly, a strong sense that poor air quality occurs frequently in U.S. work environments. A recent Fellowes survey indicates that less than one-third of indoor workers perceive their workplace air quality as “very clean.” Concerns about distracting odors, mold and other potential hazards seem to abound.
Yet, even as workers acknowledge that the air quality in their workspaces needs improving, there isn’t a strong public perception that this air could be a factor that is contributing to a host of acute and chronic illnesses. This is despite the reality that air quality can impact everything from the exacerbation of asthma to the development of chronic lung conditions.
If you believe that the air quality in your workplace is making you sick, you may have grounds upon which to pursue workers’ comp benefits. Consider seeking legal guidance to learn more.