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Will your workplace illness expenses be compensable?

Employees in various industries in New York are exposed to hazards in their workplaces that could be detrimental to their health. Sometimes a workplace illness develops over time, while others are immediately evident. Regardless, the victims might be unsure of whether the workers' compensation insurance program will cover their particular occupational diseases.

Some of the more common workplace illnesses include respiratory conditions that follow exposure to hazardous chemicals and biological agents, fumes, vapors, gases or dust. Resulting diseases include asbestosis, silicosis, beryllium disease, farmers' lung, occupational asthma, tuberculosis and many more. While these enter the workers' bodies through inhalation, skin disorders and diseases develop from contact or absorption of chemicals and other substances through the skin. It can cause eczema, contact dermatitis, friction blisters, oil acne, skin inflammation and chrome ulcers.

Exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace can cause hearing loss, which is regarded as an occupational illness, although it's relation to a particular workplace could be difficult to prove because it might only become apparent after slow deterioration over many years. Then there is poisoning, which leads to the presence of toxic substances in the bodily fluids, tissues, blood or breath of a worker who either ingested or absorbed it through inhalation or the skin. Poisonous elements include metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium or hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide and other gases. Also, organic solvents such as benzol and benzene, insecticides, and chemicals like formaldehyde can be poisonous.

While these are some of the most frequently claimed occupational illnesses, the list of additional conditions that are covered by the workers' compensation system in New York is almost endless. Any worker who believes that his or her condition is a workplace illness can discuss it with an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can determine eligibility for benefits. The lawyer can also assist with the complex administrative and legal proceedings of the claims process.

Source: bls.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health Definitions", Accessed on April 13, 2018

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