How The Workplace Environment Impacts Wellness

Wellness is greatly dependent on our daily lifestyle and the environment that we are exposed to. This link has been confirmed in a study that indicates that people who work in a stress mediated environment incur 46% more healthcare costs than non-stressed individuals. Additionally, more than 60% of visits to physicians are associated with stress related factors.


Apart from stress, a less discussed factor is that of exposure to specific materials such as asbestos and heavy metals. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), some of these heavy metals, such as mercury, have a high probability to enter the food chain and impact it negatively.



Asbestos Exposure and its Healthcare Impact

While heavy metal exposure has an immediate health impact, asbestos leads to long term health trends, and the legal compensations can be complicated.


A comprehensive study done on asbestos exposure last year connected the dots between the material and its link with lung cancer. More than 50,000 people were part of the study, providing concrete community-wide results. People who work in the insulator industry or work in offices using asbestos have a 5.2 fold chance of developing a lung cancer as compared to non-exposed individuals. Another worrying statistic is that nearly 10,000 diseases within a year occur due to asbestos related conditions such as mesothelioma (a type of lung cancer).


Exposure to materials such as asbestos has been associated with lawsuits for compensations. Such lawsuits may demand appropriate legal counsel since the liability can get too complicated for the victim to prove. Bobbie Izell, a construction worker, received $48 million in compensation after becoming a victim of mesothelioma in 2011. His asbestos exposure can be traced to construction sites during the 1960s and 1970s.


Baron & Budd, a firm that handles lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, says that victims can prevent others from suffering a similar fate by bringing attention to the problem in a legal setting. This is why people who are reluctant to raise their voice against negligence need to utilize the legal system to fight back.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA) has defined standards when it comes to contaminants such as asbestos. Workers and the general public should mandate compliance in this regard, both at home and at offices.



The importance of care management

Care management and awareness is critical. People working at sensitive settings should be absolutely aware of protective measures. While offices are expected to have exposure related SOPs, it is also the job of the employee to take precautions.


A recent lawsuit in Iowa regarding exposure of sodium chlorite at medical center shows the importance of care management. The exposure left the victim with facial injuries.


Care management is also significant for people who may not have such ‘contaminants’ within their workplaces but experienced domestic exposure. For instance, people living in old homes may experience health problems due to lead contamination and fungal molds.


Lead contamination often occurs in soils, paints and pipes. Data from the EPA reveals that homes built from 1960 to 1977 have a 24% probability to have more lead paint. Similarly, houses constructed on land previously exposed to such contaminants are also potentially vulnerable.


The analysis provided above gives the reader a modus operandi on countering common place contaminants. All measures (including legal ones) should be used to address this issue.

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