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Miners may be at risk of illness from radiation exposure

At the law office of Friday & Cox LLC, we have handled numerous workers’ compensation cases over the years in which miners were gravely injured in workplace accidents. If you’re a miner in Pennsylvania, you already know that you face a variety of dangers on the job every day, including explosions, cave-ins, faulty equipment and suffocation from poor air quality. However, you may not realize that you might also face an occupational illness from radiation exposure in a mine.

Long-term exposure to small amounts of radiation may cause many types of cancer. This is why the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set limits on how much radiation a worker may be exposed to each year. The standard unit of measurement for radiation in the U.S. is called Roentgen Equivalent Man (REM). Each year, the average American is exposed to one REM or less through natural means. OSHA allows workers a maximum of three REM for whole-body exposure in a calendar quarter.

According to Everyday Health, some mining employees may be exposed to radiation from uranium or radon. If you work in an iron, tin or uranium mine, you may be at an elevated risk of developing certain cancers, particularly lung cancer. Fortunately, modern safety measures, testing methods and ventilation technologies in mines have caused this risk to be about 1,000 times less than it was in decades past. Even so, the risk may still be there.

If you develop a workplace illness due to radiation, chemical exposure or other factors of your employment, you may be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about workers’ compensation and workplace illnesses by visiting our page.

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