Workers’ Compensation And Occupational Diseases: What You Should Know
If you are injured on the job in the Harrisburg area, you may be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You may know that a traumatic workplace injury, as long as it arises out of the course of your employment, can be compensable. Yet understanding how Pennsylvania law and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor understand occupational diseases and illnesses developed as a result of your job can be more complicated. Generally speaking, occupational diseases can be compensable through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system, but it will be essential to show that you have one of the specific conditions that falls within the state definition of an occupational disease.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act has a specific section in which it defines occupational disease, and our Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorneys want to provide you with more information about what diseases can be compensable and what you need to do in order to seek compensation.
Defining Occupational Diseases Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act
What is an occupational disease? Since different states have their own definitions of what is considered an occupational disease, and what kinds of conditions can be compensable through the workers’ compensation system, it is essential to understand how Pennsylvania law defines this term. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an occupational disease can be compensable, but the definition of an occupational disease only includes the following cited by the Act:
- Poisoning by a listed hazardous substance or material (including, e.g., arsenic, lead, mercury, manganese, beryllium, phosphorous, methanol, carbon bisulfide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon distillates, halogenated hydrocarbons, toluene diisocyanate, benzol, nitro, amido, amino derivatives of benzol, chronic acid, bichromate or ammonium, bichromate of potassium, or bichromate of sodium);
- Caisson disease caused by engagement with compressed air;
- Radium poisoning or disability;
- Epitheliomatous cancer or ulceration;
- Skin infection or inflammation due to exposure or contact with specific substances;
- Anthrax exposure;
- Silicosis caused by exposure to silicon dioxide dust;
- Asbestosis caused by asbestos exposure;
- Tuberculosis, serum hepatitis, infectious hepatitis, or hepatitis C in blood processors or health care professions or emergency responder professions and related jobs;
- Heart and lung diseases in firefighters that result in temporary or permanent total or partial disability, or death;
- Byssinosis caused by cotton dust, fiber, or material exposure;
- Coal worker diseases including pneumoconiosis, anthraco-silicosis, and silicosis (which may be known as black lung or miner’s asthma); and
- Cancer suffered by a firefighter caused by exposure to a Group 1 carcinogen.
The Act also defines an occupational disease as any other disease that meets all of the following three requirements:
- Exposure occurs by reason of employment;
- Disease is causally related to the industry or occupation; and
- Incidence of the disease is substantially greater in the worker’s industry or occupation than in the general population.
Seek Help from a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you believe you have an occupational disease that may be compensable through the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania, you will need to file a claim as you would for a traumatic workplace injury and meet all requirements for the claims process. A Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C. can assist you.