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What are some types of work-related illnesses?

Workers' compensation issues are not limited to accidents wherein an employee is injured during the course of work. Sometimes, workers develop illnesses that are related to their work, and they can seek compensation for the medical expenses and losses associated with those conditions. Some common types of illnesses that might relate to the workplace include hearing loss, poisoning, respiratory issues and skin diseases.

Hearing loss can occur if you work regularly in an environment where you are exposed to loud noises. Workers should wear earplugs or other safety equipment to prevent such occurrences, but safety provisions don't always stop hearing loss. If hearing loss becomes a medical issue, employees may be able to seek coverage under workers' compensation.

Poisoning can occur in a variety of ways -- workers don't have to ingest materials to be poisoned in the workplace. Sometimes, simply being exposed to elements on a regular basis can cause illness and even lead to chronic conditions such as cancer. Again, many work places have provisions for protecting workers through gear and special clothing, but these provisions are not always effective. The same issues are often at play when it comes to skin diseases that relate to work place exposure.

Finally, respiratory illnesses can occur when employees breathe in certain chemicals or particles on a regular basis. Often prevalent in industrial work environments, respiratory ailments can also occur in offices or retail spaces where areas are not cleaned well or chemicals are used inappropriately.

Understanding how your illness might relate to your work environment is a first step in seeking compensation. It might prove difficult to show how your illness is related to your work, which is why it helps to seek assistance from a legal professional.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Safety and Health Definitions," accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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