Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Are occupational diseases covered under workers' compensation?

Regardless of where you work in the New York City area, there are workplace hazards for you to know about so you can take proper measures to avoid them. Accidents involving falls, falling objects and repetitive stress are not the only ones that workers' compensation covers. There can be a risk of you developing an occupational disease if toxic and hazardous substances are present in your work environment. 

Occupational illnesses do not usually happen suddenly. Unlike acute injuries that can happen after a slip-and-fall or an object falling on you, occupational diseases can take months and years to develop. Even though they are often not immediately obvious, people who develop occupational diseases can be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Workers often develop such illnesses after prolonged exposure to chemicals or hazardous working conditions, such as asbestos and heat-related health problems. Learn about how potential hazards in the workplace might impact your health. 

Types of hazardous substances that are in the workplace 

Dust, fibers, paint and toxic fumes put workers at risk of developing health problems. Occupational-induced asthma, hearing loss, vision changes, and contact dermatitis and inflammation are examples of the many diseases that workers can be in danger of developing from working in hazardous environments.

These substances will not necessarily affect everyone who works where they are present. There are many factors that can increase one's susceptibility to occupational diseases, such as genetics, preexisting health conditions, lifestyle, type of toxin and length of exposure. Some sick employees end up with severe and life-threatening conditions because their initial symptoms mimic other health problems.

You might not feel it is necessary for you to see your physician or to document every ailment and symptom you develop. However, doing so could help lead to an early diagnosis. Often, the earlier you receive treatment for a disease or health condition, the better the potential outcome. It also enables you to avoid further exposure. If you believe you are suffering from an occupational health condition, you might want to speak with an attorney for guidance. 

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