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How is an occupational disease defined?

When people are injured at work in the state of Arizona, workers' compensation can help pay for expenses when a person is not able to work. Some injuries happen because of single accidents like falls or heavy machinery failing. On the other hand, chronic diseases may develop from repetitive movements or contact to dangerous chemicals or other exposures. But, how exactly is an occupational disease defined?

According to the Arizona State Legislature, occupational disease is defined by six requirements. Those include: a direct link between work-related activity and the disease, the disease follows as natural incident of work, there is a proximate cause, the disease is not related to outside work exposures, the disease is related to the character of the work and originated as risk within the business and could not have been foreseen or expanded.

There are also special exemptions and standards for firefighters or peace officers that apply. Some firefighters may be habitually exposed to smoke that may cause an occupational disease to form. An occupational disease is a serious concern for someone because of its impacts on the ability to work and future compensation. An occupational disease must meet those six requirements to be considered and could range in a variety of things from carpal tunnel syndrome, to lead poisoning.

If someone is injured on the job, they have a right to compensation to help pay for medical treatment and future lost income. Workers' compensation can help provide compensation for someone who is put out of work because of an occupational disease. It's important to know how an occupational disease is defined in Arizona, and what opportunities there are for compensation. An occupational disease doesn't mean the end of work, but finding help is important to help manage any chronic symptoms.

Source: Arizona State Legislature, "23-901.01," accessed on Oct. 23, 2014

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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.

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