The most important thing to know about occupational illnesses is that there are many different types—these range from carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss to cancer, heart disease, and more. Moreover, not all occupational illnesses are the same: some can be treated independently with medication or physical therapy, while others might require surgery or other treatments. Get ALL the info you need in this comprehensive guide!
Definition of Occupational Illness
An occupational illness is caused by exposure to hazardous conditions or materials in the workplace. Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to workers who develop an occupational illness due to their job.
Occupational illnesses can occur when workers are exposed to hazardous conditions or materials in the workplace. These exposures can occur over a long period or can be sudden and acute. Examples of hazardous conditions or materials that can lead to occupational illnesses include:
- Chemicals: Workers exposed to asbestos, lead, mercury, and solvents may develop an occupational illness.
- Dust: Workers exposed to specks of dust such as silica or coal dust may develop an occupational illness.
- Biological agents: Workers exposed to biological agents such as bacteria or viruses may develop an occupational illness.
Types of Occupational Illnesses
Many types of occupational illnesses can affect workers in various industries. Here are some of the most common types of occupational illnesses:
- Asthma: This chronic lung condition can be caused by exposure to certain irritants or chemicals in the workplace.
- Cancer: Exposure to certain carcinogens in the workplace can increase a worker’s risk of developing cancer.
- Respiratory illness: This can be caused by exposure to dust, fumes, or other airborne particles in the workplace.
- Skin diseases: These can be caused by contact with chemicals or other substances in the workplace.
- Musculoskeletal disorders: These disorders can be caused by repetitive motion, awkward positions, or heavy lifting in the workplace.
What Causes Occupational Illnesses?
Many different factors can contribute to the development of an occupational illness. Sometimes, it may be due to exposure to hazardous materials or conditions. For example, workers exposed to asbestos may develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs. Other times, it may be due to repetitive stress injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, that occur from performing the same task repeatedly.
Regardless of the cause, occupational illnesses can severely impact a person’s health and quality of life. If you believe you may have developed an occupational illness, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible and talk to your employer about your workers’ compensation rights.
How to Protect Yourself from Occupational Illnesses?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from occupational illnesses:
- Be aware of the risks associated with your job.
- Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to hazardous materials.
- Follow safety procedures and guidelines set by your employer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary.
- Report any potential hazards or exposures to your supervisor immediately.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you think you have been exposed to a hazardous material or if you develop symptoms of an illness.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are four types of workers’ compensation benefits: medical benefits, wage replacement benefits, death benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.
Medical Benefits: You are entitled to all necessary medical care to treat your work-related injury or illness. This includes hospitalization, surgery, doctor visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other treatment deemed necessary by your doctor. Your employer or workers’ compensation insurance company will not approve or deny specific treatments – that decision is up to your treating physician.
Wage Replacement Benefits: You may be eligible for wage replacement benefits if you cannot work due to your injury or illness. These benefits are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wages, up to the state maximum. Wage replacement benefits are paid until you can return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), whichever comes first.
Death Benefits: If a worker dies due to a work-related injury or illness, their surviving spouse and dependent children may be eligible for death benefits. These benefits can include funeral expenses and a percentage of the deceased worker’s average weekly wages.
Vocational Rehabilitation: If you cannot return to your previous job due to your injury or illness, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. These services can help you train for a new job or learn new skills so that you can return to the workforce.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an occupational illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The experienced attorneys at DYS Law Group can help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at (310) 473-2355 or visit our website at DYS Law Group. We will review your case and help you understand your options.