Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
Law Firm in North Canton, Ohio
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Can you get workers’ compensation for skin cancer?

People in professions where they spend long hours outdoors in the heat and sun should be given plenty of opportunities to take breaks either inside or in the shade and should have plenty of water and other hydrating beverages available. They should wear protective head coverings, clothing and sunscreen to prevent sunburn. As part of their obligation to protect their employees’ health and safety, employers should these and other items to help minimize the harmful effects of the sun.

If a worker gets skin cancer as a result of their job, can they seek workers’ compensation? That can be a tricky issue. While it’s the most common type of cancer in our country, proving that skin cancer was caused or aggravated by a person’s job can be difficult.

In some states, and in some lines of work, it’s considered an occupational disease. For example, in California, skin cancer is designated an occupational disease for people who work three consecutive months as a lifeguard.

Not all skin cancer is caused by sun exposure. It can also result from exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. In some states, skin cancer is considered an occupational disease for fire fighters who regularly deal with flame-retardant substances containing carcinogens.

In Jan. 2017, Gov. Kasich signed a law that allows a presumption that an Ohio firefighter’s cancer was caused by the job if they meet specific criteria, including being exposed to certain carcinogens over at least six years. “Presumptive” laws like this make it less of a burden for workers and their families to collect workers’ comp.

If you believe that your skin cancer was caused by your occupation, but you’ve been unable to get workers’ comp benefits, it may be worthwhile to talk with an experienced workers’ comp attorney to determine what options you have.