An occupational disease is one which arises from the exposure to something in the workplace. That exposure then causes a disease to develop, sometimes requiring lifelong treatment. There are numerous ways this can take place, but there are a few that seem to be more common than others.
The CDC has identified a list of the most common occupational diseases in the U.S. They include infectious diseases, fertility issues, back and musculoskeletal issues, pulmonary diseases, hearing loss, and skin issues. All of these become chronic ailments requiring intensive and ongoing treatment.
The occupations that are most likely to carry risks of disease are those in which chemical are used. For example, a coal miner is exposed to asbestos. A cosmetologist is exposed to chemicals in hair products and dyes. A nail technician is exposed to fumes from nail polish remover. A painter is exposed to overspray in a paint booth. The list goes on and on.
It is not uncommon for occupational diseases to affect a group of workers in the same setting. Consider the coal miner example from above. A group of men who work in a coal mine together would all be exposed to the same things. Therefore, if one develops an illness from it, they likely all will. If these workers file workers’ compensation claims, it then becomes the burden of the employer to prove their illnesses did not come from the workplace. This is why it is important to consult with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney who can help provide a rebuttal to any employer claim.