Unfortunately, we all get sick at some point or another. In most cases, this is a simple bug like a cold or the flu. However, some illnesses are much more serious, causing individuals in Ohio and elsewhere to require extensive and lengthy medical treatments. For some workers, an illness could have developed because of the work environment they work in. A work-related illness could make it challenging to work or even live a normal life. Thus, it is important to understand if the work environment was the cause, and what rights are afforded to those suffering from a workplace illness.
An occupational disease is considered to be an illness that stems from, or is contracted primarily because of, a worker’s exposures to risk factors existing in the work environment or from a work activity carried out by an employee. Workplace illnesses have many causes. While sometimes they directly relate to the work environment, they could also result from the combination of several risk factors.
An occupational disease could be the result of an injury, exposure to airborne contaminants, carcinogens, ergonomic stressors, noise and other similar risks. By improving the diagnosis of these work-related diseases, ways to reduce these harms and risks could also result. While limiting a worker’s exposure to such risks could improve the overall health and safety of employees, this unfortunately does not protect all employees from these harms.
When workers are diagnosed with occupational illnesses, it is important that they fully understand their rights and options. Uncovering the cause could help determine liability. It could also help a worker’s pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits to help with medical bills, lost wages and other damages stemming from the incident.
Source: Who.int, “Occupational and work-related diseases,” accessed August 27, 2017