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  3. What is an Occupational Disease?

According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, “An occupational disease arises from the conditions to which a specific type of worker is exposed. The disease must be produced as a natural incident of a particular occupation, such as asbestosis from asbestos removal.” Simply put, the disease must be work-related.

When a person is disabled because of an occupational disease, he or she is entitled to the same benefits as any other work-related injury. However, the time limit for filing a claim is different. For occupational diseases, the disabled worker must file a claim by one of the following dates, whichever one comes later:

  • Within two years of the date of the disability, or
  • Within two years from the time the worker should have learned the disease was caused by the worker’s employment.

Note: If the worker died as a result of the occupational disease, the surviving dependents must file a claim within the state’s time limits.

Fortunately, the Board recognizes that when a worker becomes sick with an occupational disease, the worker may be disabled, but he or she may be able to continue working. In other words, there was no loss of work. That doesn’t mean the worker cannot file a workers’ compensation claim. “For purposes of determining the employee’s right to benefits, the date of disablement is determined by a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge,” says the Board.


What counts as occupational disease? Since there are many types, we’re going to list some of the most common ones here:

  • Occupational vision or hearing loss;
  • Diseases caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, such as sulfur oxides, chlorine, chromium, arsenic, mercury, lead, and much more;
  • Disorders of the muscles, bones, tendons, joints and peripheral nerves caused by vibration;
  • Diseases caused by biological and infectious diseases, such as Tetanus, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Hepatitis, HIV and more;
  • Respiratory diseases caused by aluminum, fibrogenic and non-fibrogenic mineral dust, coal dust, etc.;
  • Skin diseases;
  • Musculoskeletal disorders;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder; and
  • Occupational cancers.

Are you suffering with an occupational disease? If so, we urge you to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a New York workers’ compensation attorney. There is no reason why you should face this issue alone. Call today to learn how we can help you.