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Injuries and illnesses

OSHA definition of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

Occupational injury is any wound or damage to the body resulting from an event in the work environment.

Skin diseases or disorders are illnesses involving the worker’s skin that are caused by work exposure to chemicals, plants or other substances. Examples: Contact dermatitis, eczema, or rash caused by primary irritants and sensitizers or poisonous plants; oil acne; friction blisters, chrome ulcers; inflammation of the skin.

Respiratory conditions are illnesses associated with breathing hazardous biological agents, chemicals, dust, gases, vapors, or fumes at work. Examples: Silicosis, asbestosis, pneumonitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis or acute congestion; farmer’s lung, beryllium disease, tuberculosis, occupational asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypersensitivity pneumonitis, toxic inhalation injury, such as metal fume fever, chronic obstructive bronchitis and other pneumoconioses.

Poisoning includes disorders evidenced by abnormal concentrations of toxic substances in blood, other tissues, other bodily fluids, or the breath that are caused by the ingestion or absorption of toxic substances into the body. Examples: Poisoning by lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, or other metals; poisoning by carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, or other gases; poisoning by benzene, benzol, carbon tetrachloride, or other organic solvents; poisoning by insecticide sprays such as parathion or lead arsenate; poisoning by other chemicals such as formaldehyde.

Hearing loss Noise-induced hearing loss for recordkeeping purposes is a change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline audiogram of an average of 10 dB or more in either ear at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz and the employee’s total hearing level is 25 decibels (dB) or more above the audiometric zero (also averaged at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz) in the same ear(s).

All other occupational illnesses Examples: Heatstroke, sunstroke, heat exhaustion, heat stress and other effects of environmental heat; freezing, frostbite, and other effects of exposure to low temperatures; decompression sickness; effects of ionizing radiation (isotopes, x-rays, radium); effects of nonionizing radiation (welding flash, ultra-violet rays, lasers); anthrax; bloodborne pathogenic diseases such as AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C; brucellosis; malignant or benign tumors; histoplasmosis; coccidioidomycosis.

U.S. Department of Labor

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