An occupational disease is a disease which is brought about by a working environment hazard or by the nature of the work. An important feature of an occupational disease is a slowly progressive disease process with a chronic course. An occupational disease is diagnosed by an occupational health doctor who will determine the state of the employee’s health and gather information concerning the employee’s current and previous working conditions and the nature of their work.
The most common categories of occupational disease are:
- diseases caused by physical overload;
- respiratory diseases;
- hypertension, hypertonia and ischemia;
- hearing loss;
- occupational skin diseases;
- occupational diseases caused by chemical hazards in a working environment.
The circumstances of an occupational accident and occupational disease and reasons therefor are established in the course of an investigation in which a working environment representative or, in their absence, an employees’ trustee has to participate with the right to vote.
If the employer lacks necessary knowledge, the employer has to involve a competent expert in the investigation.
Compensation for damages and expenses
An employee who has suffered damage to their health while performing their duties has the right to demand compensation for damage caused through health damage from an employer. An employer is required to compensate for reasonable medical expenses relating to the health damage and damages caused by the damaged person’s temporary incapacity for work and damages caused by reduction in income and, in case of death of an employee, also their reasonable funeral expenses.
If an employee who died as a result of an occupational disease had an obligation at the time of their death arising from legislation to provide for another person, an employer must pay financial benefit to that person corresponding to the amount which would have been given by the deceased during their estimated life expectancy to that person.
A victim also has the right to demand compensation for additional expenses, such as dentures, medical aids and prescription drugs, arising from damage to health. If an employer does not accept the claim issued by an employee or persons related to them, the parties may go to court to resolve the dispute.