When an individual develops a chronic ailment as the result of the work he performs or due to his occupational activity, it is said that the person has developed an occupational disease. It is an ailment that is directly linked with work performed. In general, it is usually the case that more than one individual who performs the same type of work will be afflicted with the same type of symptoms. The frequency of a particular disease appearing within a group of individuals who perform the same task is generally much higher than the rate of that disease found in the general population.
On-The-Job Injury vs. Occupational Disease
It should be clearly noted that an injury “on the job” is not the same thing as an occupational disease. While it is possible that in any work environment someone could accidentally get hurt, an occupational disease is not specifically linked to an “accident” at work. For example, if a roofer were to fall off a roof while he was working, that would not be considered an occupational disease. That would be considered an on-the-job injury. It is the sort of thing that can be addressed by an injury lawyer.
Time Frames of Occupational Disease
Some occupational diseases show up relatively quickly upon the worker being subjected to exposure. As an example, in the case of a employee who is exposed to some types of toxic chemicals or fumes in the course of work, it may not take long for symptoms of illness to appear. However, in other cases like lead poisoning, it may be months before apparent symptoms show up. Sometimes, welding certain types of material can produce fumes that cause the body to have adverse reactions. It may take twelve or more hours for the body to respond negatively. One thing is certain. It cannot be said that all occupational disease appears within a confined time frame. There are many, many variables at play.
Occupational Disease From Repetitious Movements
Other types of occupational diseases may occur from doing repetitious movements in the process of completing one’s job. Take the case of a worker who is required to turn a knob on a newly assembled product each time one rolls off the assembly line. If that worker continually repeats the same motion over and over again several hundred times every day, it is highly possible that the employee could develop an occupational disease such as carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist and arm. The constant repetition of the same movement can put too much strain on one part of the body, resulting in an occupational disease. That employee would probably not be experiencing the problem at all if the job requirement did not put such strain on that particular part of the body.