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What is an occupational disease?

An occupational disease is an illness that is likely and primarily caused by

  • physical,
  • chemical or
  • biological

factors at work or in other work-related conditions.

A disease can be diagnosed as an occupational disease on the basis of a medical inspection with sufficient information about your working conditions and exposure to risks at work. There must be probable cause between the exposure and the disease for it to be considered an occupational disease.

Examples of occupational diseases

The most common occupational diseases covered by Mela are asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), skin rashes and hypersensitivity pneumonitis (farmer’s lung).

Tendinitis of the fingers, wrist and forearm and humeral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) are compensated as occupational diseases if they have been caused by a heavy, repetitive, unilateral or awkward movement of an upper limb as part of the work process. The inflammation must be caused by work-related factors.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be compensated if, prior to the onset of symptoms, your work involved prolonged and repetitive movements causing significant compression of the median nerve in the wrist due to heavy strain on the wrist. These movements refer to bent positions of the wrist combined with a compression movement. The symptoms must be caused by work-related factors.

Compensation is not provided for musculoskeletal illnesses, such as degenerative arthritis, intervertebral disc diseases or other strain-induced injuries.

Do you suspect that you have an occupational disease?

If you suspect that you have an occupational disease, seek medical attention and submit a claim form to Mela within 60 days of the onset of the disease.

Compensation is also provided for occupational diseases involving the significant deterioration of another work-related injury or ailment likely and probably caused by exposure to physical, chemical or biological factors at work.

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