Recognition of Occupational Injury & Illness

Recognition of Occupational Injury & Illness

An employer takes the employee as is and is responsible for medical conditions caused or made worse by employment. An injury or disease must occur while carrying out the interest of the employer. The actual injury or disease does not have to occur on the employer’s premises to be covered by workers’ compensation.

The word “injury” under the Workers’ Compensation Act means more than it does in every day speech. For workers’ compensation purposes, the following situations are considered injuries:

  1. A specific incident at work causing an injury, i.e.: “Fall at work” is the most common.
  2. A series of repetitive actions resulting in a disability, i.e.: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  3. A pre-existing condition that has been aggravated by work. i.e.: Asthma.
  4. An earlier work related disability which recurs causing a later disability, i.e.: Back injury.

Recognition of Occupational Injury & Illness

Some diseases related to certain occupations are recognized specifically as occupational diseases.

  1. Tuberculosis and hepatitis for nurses, blood processors, and related professionals who are exposed to these diseases.
  2. Disease of the heart and lungs for firemen who have four or more years of service.
  3. Pneumoconiosis and silicosis for any occupation that involves direct contact with or exposure to coal dust.
  4. Specific types of chemical poisoning (i.e.: lead, arsenic, mercury) for occupations that involve direct contact or exposure, or to the preparation or compounds.

 

Other diseases not specifically mentioned can be compensable if they meet certain criteria for determining whether a disease is occupationally related. The determination if a disease is compensable depends on the following:

  1. The employee is exposed to the disease by reason of his/her employment.
  2. The disease is causally related to the employee’s industry or occupation.
  3. The occurrence of the disease is substantially greater in that industry or occupation than it is in the general population.

Teaching Occupational Medicine

Teaching Occupational Medicine

Despite its relevance to medical practice, occupational medicine has been poorly represented in undergraduate training. This article describes a model for the teaching of occupational medicine to student doctors.

Methods

The model comprises two didactic lectures, a student‐selected component (SSC) of five interactive two‐hour sessions and one occupational medicine objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) station in the final MB ChB clinical exam. Interested final‐year students are invited to join the SSC. In session 1, students discuss the scope of occupational medicine practice, which includes a job title–occupational illness quiz, the use of environmental measurements and audiovisual recordings of selected workplaces.

Teaching Occupational Medicine

Sessions 2–4 involve visits to workplaces such as a laundry, a foundry and a bakery, during which students are asked to record relevant hazards to health, their controls, health effects and how occupational causality might be determined. The final session allows students to present their findings and gain feedback from the occupational physicians and their peers.