Occupational Disease Legal Definition

What is an Occupational Disease?” 

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  • Occupational Disease
Occupational Disease Legal Definition

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Occupational Disease legal definition:An occupational disease is defined as any chronic health condition that was caused by a workplace hazard.


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Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation Cases

In Pennsylvania, employees who develop an occupational disease are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In order to qualify for benefits because of an occupational disease:

  • The injury or ailment MUST have occurred during or was made worse by work activities
  • The injury or ailment does NOT need to have occurred at a work site

Under Pennsylvania law, a compensable occupational disease could be caused by:

  • A specific work incident such as a slip and fall 
  • A series of repetitive actions that cause a disability such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Prolonged exposure to dangerous conditions that cause a disability such as hearing loss
  • A pre-existing condition such as asthma made worse by work or work conditions
  • A previous on-the-job injury made worse during work activities, such as a back or shoulder injury

Additionally, there are some occupational diseases specifically recognized as dangers in some fields. They include:

  • Heart and lung disease – These occupational diseases are known to affect firefighters who’ve been on the job for four years or longer
  • Hepatitis and tuberculosis – Doctors, nurses, and other health providers who are exposed to blood are at risk
  • Silicosis and pneumoconiosis – Miners and other workers exposed to coal dust are often afflicted with these illnesses
  • Chemical poisoning – Workers who are employed in industries where exposure to poisonous compounds such as arsenic, mercury or lead, suffer from related diseases

If you’re suffering from an occupational disease and are fighting for workers’ comp benefits, proving that the ailment was a result of your job is a hurdle best cleared with the help of an experienced attorney. Don’t go it alone – your workers’ compensation claim could hang in the balance.


Sources: https://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/swif/claims/Pages/What-is-Work-Related-Inury-and-Occupational-Disease.aspx



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