OhioBWC - Basics:  What is an occupational disease claim?

What is an occupational disease claim?
An occupational disease (OD) claim generally results from repeated work-related exposure per ORC 4123.01(F). The work-related exposure has a harmful effect on the employee and there is a causal relationship between the exposure and the harmful effect that is confirmed by a medical diagnosis. The conditions of the employment create a greater hazard to the worker than to the general public. Occupational diseases may be caused by exposure to:
  • Dust, gases or fumes;
  • Chemicals and toxic substances;
  • Extreme changes of temperatures, noises or pressure;
  • Physical vibrations, constant pressure and use, physical movement in constant repetition or radioactive rays;
  • Infections and organisms;
  • Radiation.
ORC 4123.68(A) through (AA) lists the complete schedule of occupational diseases. Some nonscheduled diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, etc. can be eligible for determination as an occupational disease. Neither diagnostic nor preventative measures are compensable unless the disease is actually contracted and the claim is allowed.
  • Mere exposure to or contact with a disease-causing agent is insufficient to allow an occupational disease claim.
Should you have additional questions in regard to occupational disease claims, please contact your customer service specialist or the BWC office nearest you.

Determining the date of disability for an OD claim
According to ORC 4123.85 the date of disability in an occupational disease claim is the most recent of the following three dates available at the time the claim is filed:
  • The date the condition was diagnosed as an occupational disease;
  • The date the injured worker first received medical treatment for the condition(s);
  • The date the injured worker first quits work because of the medical condition(s).
Time limitations for filing
ORC 4123.85 occupational disease claims must be filed within:
  • Two years after the disability due to the disease began, or within such longer period as does not exceed six months after the date of diagnosis of the OD by a licensed physician;
  • The six-month period can extend (but never shorten) the normal two-year from date of disability period.
Required medical exams
Claims with the following occupational diseases must have a qualified, medical examination before compensation or benefits are awarded:
  • Berylliosis;
  • Cardiovascular, pulmonary or respiratory diseases incurred by firefighters or police officers;
  • Silicosis;
  • Asbestosis;
  • Coal miners’ pneumoconiosis;
  • Any other occupational disease of the respiratory tract resulting from injurious exposures to dust.