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Occupational and Work-Related Diseases

by | Sep 28, 2016 | Occupational Diseases, Occupational Hearing Loss, Workers' Compensation

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “An ‘occupational disease’ is any disease contracted primarily as a result of an exposure to risk factors arising from work activity.”

WHO reports that work-related diseases stem from various causes where environmental factors in the workplace may play a role. Essentially, when these factors are combined with other risk factors they develop into occupational diseases.

Under New York workers’ compensation law, an occupational disease is defined as a disease that arises from conditions that a specific type of worker is exposed to. Further, the disease must have been caused as a natural incident of a specific occupation, for example, asbestosis from a worker whose job is asbestos removal.

While there are literally dozens of different types of occupational illnesses and diseases, here is a list of some common diseases:

  • Caisson’s disease (often related to compressed air work)
  • Noise induced hearing loss
  • Pneumoconiosis (exposure to talc)
  • Scleroderma (silica exposure)
  • Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung disease)
  • Chimney sweeps’ carcinoma
  • Occupational asthma
  • Byssinosis (among workers in the cotton textile industry)
  • Occupational skin diseases


Under New York workers’ compensation law, if a worker is disabled by an occupational disease, they are entitled to the same benefits as a worker who is injured in a job-related accident. In such cases, the time limit for filing a claim is the later of the following dates:

  • Two years from the date that the worker became disabled, or
  • Two years from the date that the disabled worker discovered or should have learned that the disease was work-related.

When a New York worker becomes sick because of an occupational disease, the disabled worker may still be considered disabled, even if he or she did not lose any time from work. Generally, it is up to a workers’ compensation law judge to determine the date of disablement for the purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits.


Are you suffering from an occupational disease? If so, we urge you to contact Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman for a free case evaluation with one of our New York workers’ compensation lawyers.

We can answer your questions and help you apply for the benefits you need and deserve!