The human digestive system handles our food intake, turning food into the energy needed to run the body’s systems. The category of digestive system disorders is a broad one. Many of these disorders can be disabling. When a workplace accident, injury, or illness results in a digestive system disorder, a California worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage for medical bills, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and/or disability benefits.
Causes of Digestive System Disorders
While the causes of digestive system disorders are as varied as the types of disorders suffered, many possible causes exist in a wide variety of workplaces. Some of the more common workplace hazards that may lead to digestive disorders include the following:
- Chemical exposure – Exposure to certain chemicals can cause acute or long-term gastrointestinal problems. Sudden chemical exposure or poisoning may cause digestive symptoms, such as vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Long-term exposure may also cause or aggravate these symptoms. Chemicals or contaminants do not have to be eaten to be dangerous. For instance, workers exposed to asbestos have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, a cancer that can affect the lining of the digestive system as well as other organs.
- Exposure to viruses and/or bacteria – The bacteria h. pylorii is a known cause of stomach ulcers. Hepatitis, a condition that affects the health of the liver, can be transmitted through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. Other pathogens can also cause digestive system disorders, some of which may be serious. Workers in health care settings or in emergency services are more likely than other workers to suffer a digestive system disorder due to a viral or bacterial infection.
- Shift work – Shift work affects the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making the body more vulnerable to digestive problems caused by increased stress or decreased time or quality of sleep. Over time, a shift work schedule may cause or aggravate a digestive disorder.
- Stress – Workplace stress is a known cause of digestive problems, according to the Department of Labor. The mental stress of meeting deadlines or working with difficult people and the physical stress of regular exposure to vibration, extreme temperatures, or other stressors can all play a role in gastrointestinal health. Reducing workplace stress is key in protecting workers’ digestive health.
Protecting Disabled Workers Throughout Southern California
Because a wide range of factors can cause or aggravate a digestive system disorder, it’s not always easy to connect these disorders to a workplace event or condition that qualifies the patient for workers’ compensation coverage. That’s why experienced southern California workers’ compensation attorney Kenton Koszdin is dedicated to helping those who suffer from work-related digestive problems get the compensation they need, so they can focus on getting well and returning to work, hobbies, and the rest of their lives. A worker who suffers a serious disorder at no fault of their own shouldn’t deny themselves of their rightful benefits. Call Kenton Koszdin Law Office today at (800) 438-7734 for a free, confidential consultation and to learn more about your legal rights.