UConn Health, the overseeing branch of clinical care at the University of Connecticut, has completed a report titled “Occupational Disease in Connecticut, 2016” and handed it to the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission. According to the report, they have completed an extensive study of occupational illness incidents throughout the state within the last few years. The ultimate conclusion is that Connecticut sees more occupational illnesses than most other states in the country.
Based on UConn Health’s research, there was 18.7 illnesses per every 10,000 workers in Connecticut in 2014, the last year with complete data sets. The national average is just around 12 illnesses per 10,000. Additionally, in the previous year, Connecticut was hovering around that national average.
Where Occupational Illnesses Exist in Connecticut
The information gathered for their study is largely based on workers’ compensation reports filed with the Connecticut Labor Department and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of the occupational illness incidents involved musculoskeletal afflictions, followed by infection diseases, respiratory problems, skin conditions, and “other” illnesses.
The three towns with the most incidents of occupational illnesses are:
- Farmington (161 cases per 10,000 workers)
- Norwich (132)
- Groton (119)
The average municipal countrywide has only 28 occupational illnesses reported per every 10,000 employees there. It should also be noted that Hartford, Middletown, Southington, New Haven, Stratford, Wallingford, and Cheshire were all reportedly around double the national average.
Occupations that seem to be prone to illnesses include:
- Education or health sector jobs (60:10,000)
- Government-related (55)
- Manufacturing (53)
- Transportation or utility sector (44)
What Needs to Be Done?
It is difficult to confidently state what caused the significant rise in occupational illnesses in Connecticut in recent years. Some speculate that more people are not getting sick from their workplaces and work duty but rather more occupational illness incidents are being accurately reported. If this is the case, it would actually be an improvement over the inverse scenario of not knowing how, when, or why people are becoming ill.
In order to reduce the number of occupational illnesses throughout the state, employers may need to begin making extra efforts to provide clean, sterile work environments. Providing workers with additional sick days may also help, as it would allow people to stay home and not spread illnesses. Using less harmful chemicals in all sorts of professionals could also reduce the total number of incidents.
Lastly, it is important to provide ill and injured employees with workers’ compensation whenever they need it, and to take legal action if they are wrongfully denied. At the Law Offices of Brian J. Mongelluzzo, LLC, we are led by Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Brian Mongelluzzo and have represented thousands of clients throughout our years of experience. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are based in Waterbury but we can help clients all across Connecticut, including in Farmington, Hartford, and all the way east to Norwich. Contact our firm today to learn more about our services and your rights.