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Understanding occupational diseases

Workers in New York should be aware of occupational diseases and how they play a role in workers' compensation claims. Individuals should understand how incidents can occur and what actions the injured victim should take if exposed.

According to the World Health Organization, diseases related to work can have numerous causes, and include risk factors associated with certain work environments. The WHO reports that incidents can occur from carcinogens, airborne pathogens, noise, ergonomic issues and injuries contracted primarily from working conditions. Some of the goals of the World Health Organization are to improve diagnostic abilities by healthcare providers and improve their reporting capabilities.

The New York State Workers' Compensation Board defines occupational disease as one that results from a natural incident of certain occupations. Workers who are disabled due to a work-related disease have a limited amount of time to file a claim. The time limit is two years after the victim determined the disease was caused by the work environment or two years from the worker's disability date, whichever comes later.

The time limit is different for workers who suffered hearing loss from a work-related harmful noise. The person must wait three months before filing a claim, and this time period can be after either the removal of the employee or voluntary leave due to exposure to the noise. The same two-year limit applies, although there are instances in which filing beyond two years is still valid. A judge must make the specific call about disablement dates and access to benefits. 

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