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Carcinogens are as threatening as any other workplace injury

Workers in all industries in British Columbia are exposed to hazards in the workplace. While any workplace injury that involves fractured bones or open wounds is easy to recognize as being work-related, some occupational illnesses might be questioned. However, an endless list of carcinogens and radiation sources exist in various industries, and employers must protect employees against them.

Cancer-causing material can enter the bodies of workers through inhalation or ingestion, or it can be absorbed through the skin. What many employees do not realize is that carcinogenic material adheres to work clothes. If workers do not change their clothing before they go home, they put their families at the same risk.

Occupational cancer risks are high for agriculture workers, cabinet and furniture manufacturers, plumbers and pest control workers. In the building industry, those at risk include construction workers, roofers, painters, electricians and metalworkers. Furthermore, employees in industries like pulp and paper manufacturing, oil and gas workers, and road construction and health care workers are also exposed to cancer-causing materials. Employers must inform workers of all the risks they will face and implement plans that are developed to control exposure.

Because most cancers develop over time, victims might only be diagnosed when they are no longer in the employ of the business at which they were exposed to carcinogens. Although they have the same rights to compensation as any other worker who suffered a more visible workplace injury, claims for occupational diseases are often denied. This is where the skills of a lawyer who has experience in dealing with the rights of British Columbia employees to receive workers' compensation and disability benefits come in. A lawyer can assist with the navigation of the benefits claims process as well as an appeal if the claim should be rejected.

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