What is Occupational Disease?
The South Carolina workers’ compensation program doesn’t just cover acute injuries like a strained back or broken ankle. It also compensates workers for covered occupational disease, which is a disease that arises directly out of an employee’s working conditions.
Let’s look at exactly what occupational disease is and what it’s not, including some examples of occupational diseases.
What is Occupational Disease? Examples of Occupational Disease in South Carolina
Occupational disease is a disease “arising out of and in the course of employment that is due to hazards in excess of those ordinarily incident to employment and is peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged,” under South Carolina Code 42-11-10.
Some examples of occupational diseases include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries
- Asthma and other respiratory conditions resulting from exposure to substances at work
- Dermatitis and other skin conditions resulting from exposure to chemicals at work
- Hearing loss
Having a disease that arose out of the course of work is not enough in order to be entitled to compensation, however; SC Code 42-11-10(D) states “No compensation shall be payable for any occupational disease unless the employee suffers a disability.”
What Is Not Considered an Occupational Disease in SC?
Under the same statute cited above, conditions not considered occupational disease include:
- A disease resulting from outside climate conditions
- Any contagious diseases that a worker catches due to exposure at work
- Cardiac, pulmonary, or circulatory system disease not resulting directly from conditions “peculiar to the employment and the processes utilized therein”
- Any chronic disease of the skeletal joints
However, if such a condition leads to an incident that results in acute injury in the workplace, that may be covered. For example, if an employee suffers a heart attack while driving a forklift at work and a resulting crash causes bodily injury, the injuries would most likely be covered.
If you have any questions about whether a particular disease may be considered an occupational disease for the purposes of workers’ comp in South Carolina, contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney like those at The Carolina Law Group.
Call the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
Workers’ comp claims for occupational diseases are different from claims for injuries, and it can be more challenging to bring a successful claim for an occupational disease.
Do you have a disease you believe is the direct result of conditions at work? If so, it’s important to work with a workers’ comp attorney who has experience handling occupational disease claims, like the workers’ compensation lawyers at The Carolina Law Group. Call us at one of the numbers below to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).
Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.