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How are workplace illnesses defined in Illinois?

The first thing to understand is that anything that can make you sick through your employment can be a workplace illness as long as you can show that it occurred because of your work. Of course, if you catch the flu from a co-worker, it will not be defined as a workplace illness.

You should also be aware that some industries could cause serious illnesses like cancer. If you are asking these questions because of a serious illness, you would be wise to seek counsel from a lawyer in Illinois as quickly as possible.

To get a more detailed answer to your question, please see the illnesses and their definitions in the sections below.

  • Respiratory conditions: These workplace illnesses can occur from inhaling hazardous substances like gases, chemicals, dust and even biological agents. Illness examples include asbestosis, pneumonitis, farmer's lung, tuberculosis, toxic inhalation injury and many others.
  • Poisoning: Illness may occur if a worker is exposed to toxic substances that invade his or her body fluids or tissue. Examples of poisonous substances include lead, mercury, arsenic, carbon monoxide, benzene and insecticides.

Other examples of workplace illnesses include the following:

  • Skin disease
  • Decompression sickness
  • Radiation
  • Malignant and benign tumors
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Musculoskeletal disorders

While American industries are now required to regulate employee exposure to substances that could cause illness, workers still become sickened at an alarming rate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a key entity in the regulation of exposure to toxic substances. Employers who fail to comply with these regulations can be held liable. A lawyer familiar with these cases can be a great source of support for those seeking compensation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Safety and Health Definitions," accessed Aug. 9, 2017

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