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What is the Most Common Type of Occupational Disease?

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What is the Most Common Type of Occupational Disease?

Monty Desai | Attorney, Greenville, SC

Monty Desai | Partner & Attorney

An “occupational disease” is defined in South Carolina Code 42-11-10 as “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.” That is, an occupational disease – also called an occupational illness – is not just an illness that leads to days away from work, but it’s a disease that is directly caused by an employee’s working conditions. 

Most occupational diseases are covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina, but it can be challenging to prove that the disease was directly the result of working conditions. (Read more about this on our blog, How to Get Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Disease in South Carolina.)

What is the most common type of occupational disease in the U.S.? It’s not possible to say for sure what the single most common one is, but the following occupational diseases are some of the most common in the U.S.

Common Types of Occupational Disease in the U.S.

Occupational hearing loss was reported as the most common occupational disease in the U.S. in an April 1996 publication by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). An update 20 years later reported that the prevalence of hearing loss for all workers across all industries was stable over a 30-year period, affecting 20% of workers. 

Occupational asthma is another very common occupational disease, accounting for around 15% of new asthma cases in adults. Unfortunately, asthma can be fatal, and an estimated 11%-21% of asthma-related deaths could be related to occupational exposure, according to the CDC.

Contact dermatitis is also extremely common. This skin condition accounts for 90-95% of occupational skin disease cases in the U.S., according to the NIOSH.

Other kinds of common occupational disease include other skin diseases disorders, other respiratory diseases, and musculoskeletal disorders. For more on this, check out our blog What is Occupational Disease?

Call the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

Have you developed one of the diseases listed above, or another illness, that you believe was brought about or made worse by conditions at work? If so, you may be eligible to receive compensation through your state’s workers’ compensation program. If you live in South Carolina, contact the workers’ comp lawyers at The Carolina Law Group to discuss your case. Our workers’ compensation attorneys can tell you what to expect, help you get the compensation you’re entitled to under the law, and stop you from making mistakes that could prevent you from getting the full benefits you deserve. Call one of the numbers below to set up a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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.


Monty D. Desai came to the United States on Christmas Eve, 1988. After high school he joined the service in order to earn money for college. Monty would go on to earn a letter of commendation as a Navy Corpsman for the Marine Corps. After his service, Monty completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina. From there, Monty went on to attend Thomas M. Cooley Law School on full scholarship, where he earned his Juris Doctorate. Following graduation from law school, Monty served as prosecutor with Greenville County Solicitor’s Office, and also worked as a a adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Division at Greenville Technical College. In 2015 Monty was recognized by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys as ranked among the Top 10 Under 40 for excellence in the field of personal injury.

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