The way that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (PADLI) sees it is that an employer effectively sends a message to a worker when hired. Simply by taking them on, they are sending a message that they’re accepting of them and their physical or mental state as it is.
It’s perhaps because of this that an employer is often held liable for any workplace injury or illness that a worker may develop or is exacerbated while on the job.
PADLI defines any disease or injury that arises or worsens during the course of an individual’s employment to be occupational-related. It’s classified as such regardless as to whether it happens at the worker’s regularly scheduled workplace or somewhere else.
Several types of workplace injuries fall under the umbrella of the Workers’ Compensation Act. There are isolated incidents that may cause an injury such as a slip and fall. Then there are situations in which a worker’s preexisting medical condition can be exacerbated by the tasks he or she is asked to carry out while on the job, such as asthma.
A worker who is required to engage in repetitive motions as part of his or her job may also develop a disabling condition such as a back injury or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over time.
In additional to being at risk for workplace injuries, employees working in certain industries also risk developing occupational diseases. A firefighter’s risk of developing some type of lung or heart disease significantly increases once they’ve spent at least four years on the job.
Health care workers are at a particularly high risk for contracting illnesses like hepatitis or tuberculosis that are transmitted through the sharing of blood or through the air. Additionally, coal workers risk developing either silicosis or pneumoconiosis from being exposed to dust in mines.
These are only a few examples of occupational diseases though. Each industry has it own disease or diseases that afflict its employees the most. A chronic disease is distinguished from a workplace-related one in that the latter would appear to occur more often among workers who hold a particular job role as opposed to those in the general public who do not.
In learning more about your the onset or worsening of your injuries or illness, a Dauphin, Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation attorney may advise you of your right to file a claim against your employer.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, “What is work related injury and occupational disease?,” accessed Oct. 19, 2017