Worker’s Compensation: Workplace Occupational Disease

Workplace occupational disease refers to repetitive motion injuries suffered by workers who perform the same task over and over as part of their job description. Occupational disease strikes and affects a large number of workers, even though they may not realize it.

The most common workplace occupational diseases include carpal tunnel syndrome and other upper extremity injuries. Caused by repetitive use of the hands and upper extremities, these injuries are most commonly found in the cases of factory workers, construction workers or hospital staff, who constantly tug, pull and pinch using their hands.

Occupational disease can also include the effects of years of hard labor in other areas, including lung disease, certain types of cancer, hearing loss or back and spine injuries.

Occupational disease is more difficult to collect workers’ compensation on, as the Missouri legislature redefined the occupational injury parameters in the 2005 legislative reform. These reforms make it much more difficult for workers to recover for carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries because they redefined the extent of liability for employers. Under the new law, for instance, the definition assesses liability on the employer at the time when the employee becomes “disabled.” This is a very vague definition and has allowed many employers to deny workers’ compensation to injured workers.

The bottom line is that though employers are responsible for occupational disease, you will likely need an attorney to prepare and present your claim properly.