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Occupational disease
Classification and external resources
MeSH D009784

An occupational disease is any chronic ailment that occurs as a result of work or occupational activity. It is an aspect of occupational safety and health. An occupational disease is typically identified when it is shown that it is more prevalent in a given body of workers than in the general population, or in other worker populations. Occupational hazards that are of a traumatic nature (such as falls by roofers) are not considered to be occupational diseases.

Under the law of workers' compensation in many jurisdictions, there is a presumption that specific disease are caused by the worker being in the work environment and the burden is on the employer or insurer to show that the disease came about from another cause.



Some well-known occupational diseases include:


Lung diseases

Occupational lung diseases include asbestosis among asbestos miners and those who work with friable asbestos insulation, as well as black lung (coalworker's pneumoconiosis) among coal miners, and byssinosis among workers in parts of the cotton textile industry.

Occupational asthma has a vast number of occupations at risk.

Bad indoor air quality may predispose for diseases in the lungs as well as in other parts of the body.

Skin diseases

Occupational skin diseases and conditions are generally caused by chemicals and having wet hands for long periods while at work. Eczema is by far the most common, but urticaria, sunburn and skin cancer are also of concern.[1]

High-risk occupations include:[1]

  • Hairdressing
  • Catering
  • Healthcare
  • Printing
  • Metal machining
  • Motor vehicle repair
  • Construction

Other diseases of concern


Donald Hunter in his classic history of occupational diseases discusses many example of occupational diseases. [2] They include:

See also


  1. ^ a b [ HSE (Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain) --> Skin at work] Retrieved on June 20, 2009
  2. ^ Donald Hunter. Diseases of Occupations. Hodder Arnold; 8th rev. edition, 1994 ISBN-10: 0340551739 ISBN-13: 978-0340551738


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