What is an occupational disease?
An occupational disease is a disease or disorder that is caused by the work or working conditions.
This means that the disease must have developed due to exposures in the workplace and that the correlation between the exposures and the disease is well known in medical research. Or put in another way, it must not be likely, beyond reasonable doubt, that the disease was caused by factors other than work.
Examples of occupational diseases:
• Tennis elbow
• Hearing loss
What causes occcupational diseases?
Exposures in the workplace that may cause some of the above diseases:
• Repetitive work movements
• Work with arms lifted above shoulder height
• Heavy lifting work
• Work in a very noisy environment
• Work with hazardous substances
When there is adequate medical documentation that a disease is caused by a certain exposure, the disease is included on the list of occupational diseases.
The list of occupational diseases is a list of work-related diseases which are recognised as industrial injuries if a person has had certain exposures in the workplace. The list is constantly updated so that it covers the most recent research.
Read on to find out how to recognise an occupational disease...
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COID statistics show that the fund denies 80% of all claims outright!
For two reasons:
1. The employee either didn't report the claim properly.
2. Or the incident they reported is something the COID Fund doesn't cover.
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Recognition of an occupational disease
In order for you to get compensation and other benefits as a consequence of a disease, the disease must be recognised as an industrial injury.
A disease can be recognised in two different ways:
• If the disease and the exposure causing the disease are on the list of occupational diseases, we recognise the disease as an occupational disease
• If the disease is not on the list of occupational diseases, it's still possible to recognise it as an occupational disease if the Occupational Diseases Committee states that it's likely, beyond reasonable doubt, that the disease was caused by special factors in the workplace.
But how do you report an occupational disease? Read on to find out how in two steps...
Two steps to report an occupational disease to the Compensation Fund
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act requires employers to report all diseases that are caused by work.
When employers want to report a disease, they must use the following steps:
Step 1: Send the form
Employers must fill in the Employer's Report of an Occupational Disease (W.Cl.1) within 14 after they find out about the disease.
They must send it to:
The Compensation Commissioner
PO Box 955
Step 2: Send follow-up information
Employers must also send in a:
First Medical Report for an Occupational Disease (W.Cl.22);
Claim for Compensation for an Occupational Disease (W.Cl.14);
Progress Medical Reports (W.Cl.22) until the worker's illness is stable;
Final Medical Report of an Occupational Disease (W.Cl.26) once the worker is stable; and an·
Audiogram if the worker became deaf because of noise at the workplace.
Make sure you follow the above two steps to avoid your claims being delayed!