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The Leading Causes of Occupational Disability

Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the main causes of occupational disability and employee absence in the workplace, often resulting in mild short-term and irreversible long-term disabilities.

The Impact of Occupational Disability

According to the Social Security Administration, one in three adults are likely to become disabled before they reach retirement age. The Department of Labor says that low back pain accounts for one-third of all occupational musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses resulting in work disability, often requiring the assistance of workers comp lawyers in Nevada.  Two-thirds of low back pain cases return to work within one month, but 17 percent are out of work for one to six months, and another 7 percent are out for six months or longer. Arthritis and muscle and joint problems are common causes of long-term disability and account for about one-third of all disability cases.

In addition to musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses, there are various other causes of occupational disability. These include:

  • Heart Disease Depending on the severity of the condition and the person’s job tasks, heart disease has a big impact on a person’s ability to work. In the U.S., heart disease contributes to 17 percent of all health costs.
  • Diabetes – Type II diabetes is a growing cause of occupational disability, because eating habits, medications, and supplies often interfere with work. It is also linked to a variety of other serious health problems.
  • Mental Health Problems – Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are the most common reason that people quit their jobs and seek Social Security disability.
  • Nervous System Disorders – Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Epilepsy are the leading causes of disability in young adults. Although these disorders usually surface between age 20 and 40, they often have life-long effects.
  • Strokes – Strokes often result in limited physical and mental functioning, as well as brain damage. Studies show that approximately 75% of stroke survivors have to decrease their employment demands.
  • Cancer – Cancer is the fastest-growing reason for workplace disability claims. Cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation make it difficult for workers with cancer to return to the workplace with the same vitality and energy required to do their jobs.

In comparison to the general workforce, construction workers experience a higher risk of occupational disabilities. They are often exposed to hazardous workplace conditions and materials that increase their risks for musculoskeletal injuries, respiratory illnesses, lung diseases, poisoning from toxic fumes, and cancer.

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