According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), welding, soldering, and brazing workers are frequently exposed to a number of hazards, including the intense light created by the arc, poisonous fumes, and very hot materials.
During the period from 1992 to 2001, fatal occupational injury rates for welders and cutters were 1.7 to 3.3 times greater than injury rates for all other construction workers. Rates for welders and cutters showed an increasing trend, from 23.
7 per 100,000 full-time workers in 1992, to 45.4 in 1997. The fatal injury rate of 39.9 per 100,000 full-time workers in 2001 was 3 times the rate for all construction workers and represented a 68% increase from 1992.
If an employee currently works, previously worked, or is in an area where industrial welding is being performed, chances are the employee was exposed to welding rod fumes. Recent medical research suggests that exposure to welding fumes may lead many health problems, including two serious illnesses, Parkinson's disease and Manganism. There are many court cases pending regarding this exposure, the hazards involved and the health impact on employees.
For example, in early September 2005 a Mississippi shipyard worker who claimed his neurological problems were caused by inhaling fumes from welding rods concluded his lawsuit by settling with the final two welding company defendants in his case. The worker's lawsuit against the two welding manufacturers was scheduled for trial the following week. The lawsuit was settled for more than one million dollars. Parkinson's disease and Manganism are the two most common serious illness associated with the welding profession. The diseases often occur because of high levels of welding fumes that are inhaled.
A description of each of these diseases follows: A disorder in which excessive levels of manganese severely affect a part of the brain that operates movement of the body is known as Maganism, which is also cited as secondary Parkinson's. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, headache, slow or slurred speech, poor memory, impaired balance and tremors, delusions and hallucinations, disorientation and/or difficulty walking. * In addition to Manganism, recent studies have found that exposure to manganese fumes is associated with the early onset of Parkinson's disease.
In fact, research conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine found that welders developed symptoms of Parkinson's disease an average of 15 years earlier than the general population. Many motor system disorders are caused by the decrease and eventual loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, which is imperative to the body. Of these diseases, Parkinson's is classified with these disorders. Of the four main symptoms of the illness is a seizure or tremble like movement that often occurs in the face and appendages including legs, hands and arms; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination.
As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. Early symptoms of the disease are subtle and occur gradually. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions. It is advisable that legal consultation is sought out by those who have been or currently are working as a welder or for those who may have been in the area where welding has occurred. It is necessary to study work history records and evaluate medical records to determine whether there may be a valid claim against the manufacturers. It is advisable to contact a welding injury law firm as soon as possible because there is a statute of limitations on some claims.
LegalView, http://www.LegalView.com, not only offers information on the welding accidents and injuries, but it also offers information for those who are in need of a mesothelioma attorney. Or, for information on other construction site accidents and injuries, visit http://construction.legalview.com/.