Gradual injuries: The hazards faced by paper and pulp workers

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2018 | Workplace Injuries

Workers in the paper and pulp manufacturing facilities in Arizona face significant health risks. While many occupational hazards involve physical injuries, the exposure these workers face can cause gradual injuries to their health. The work environment in this industry typically contain paper dust, sulfur dioxide, chlorine compounds, and there could even be risks of asbestos exposure.

Exposure to these substances could cause chronic and acute respiratory disorders, and some hazards could be life-threatening. Years of asthma suffering can follow exposure to chlorine and chlorine dioxide, and it could even cause severe lung injuries. Respiratory diseases, some of which can be fatal, can also result from exposure to paper dust and sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur compounds can cause eye irritations, nausea and headaches while high concentrations can lead to respiratory paralysis, unconsciousness and even death. The process of turpentine recovery releases concentrations of terpenes in the air, which can irritate the respiratory system. In addition, chronic scarring of the lungs can be caused by microorganisms that could be present in piles of wood chips and waste, also in sludge presses and debarkers.

These hazards are all serious, and the illnesses they cause could lead to ongoing medical expenses and lost work hours. Claiming workers’ compensation benefits could be challenging because, like other gradual injuries, the full extent of the harm will likely only become evident after long-term exposure. For this reason, many workers choose to utilize the services of an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney to assist with the benefits claims process to cover medical expenses and lost wages.