Headache? Muscle aches? Symptoms of respiratory or heart disease? Depression? Is it an occupational disease? Some diseases may be related to the work environment, know its definition and what the law protects, according to the General System of Occupational Risks.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) , 6,500 people die every day from occupational diseases, which represents between 5 and 7% of the total deaths registered worldwide.

In Colombia , from 2009 to 2017, there were 2.7 people who claimed to suffer from this diseases. 

In fact, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection explains that, since 2013, there has been an increase in cases of anxiety and depression, ranking third among the most reported this diseases, after hearing impairments.

What is occupational disease?

Article 4 of Law 1562 of 2012 defines an career illness as one that is contracted as a result of exposure to risk factors inherent to the work activity or the environment in which the worker has been forced to work.

Who establishes that a disease?

The National Government is the one who periodically determines the diseases that are considered as occupational. In cases where a disease does not appear in the table of this diseases, but the causal relationship with occupational risk factors is demonstrated, it will be recognized as an occupational illness, in accordance with the provisions of current legal regulations.

Currently, Decree 1477 of 2014 of the Ministry of Labor exposes the table of occupational illness. In this, diseases that can be produced by five occupational risk factors are identified: chemical, physical, biological, psychosocial and ergonomic agents.

In which groups are these diseases classified?

In 15 groups:

  • Group I Infectious and parasitic diseases
  • Group II Cancer of occupational origin
  • Group III Non-malignant diseases of the hematopoietic system
  • Group IV Mental and behavioral disorders
  • Group V Diseases of the nervous system
  • Group VI Diseases of the eye and its annexes
  • Group VII Ear diseases and speech problems
  • Group VIII Diseases of the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular system
  • Group IX Diseases of the respiratory system
  • Group X Diseases of the digestive system and liver
  • Group XI Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue
  • Group XII Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
  • Group XIII Diseases of the genitourinary system
  • Group XIV Poisonings
  • Group XV Diseases of the endocrine system

Who protects the workers?

The General Occupational Risk System, created under the 1993 law, is in charge of protecting all workers. It is important to remember that every worker must be affiliated with an Occupational Risk Administrator (ARL) and it is this that guarantees the protection in terms of assistance and financials in case of this disease.

What is a worker who suffers from an occupational disease entitled to?

You have the right to be treated through your EPS, without any type of restriction on expenses for medical, surgical, therapeutic and pharmaceutical care. As well as payments for hospitalization, dental services, diagnostic tests, prosthetics, travel expenses, and physical and professional rehabilitation.

If the worker is in a period of disability, does he receive a salary?

Of course. The employee has the right to receive full economic benefits, represented in payment of disabilities or compensation that take place if the commitment to their health is permanent or partial. These benefits are determined according to the income that the person receives.

Having clarity about the concept and the laws that cover an occupational disease allows taking advantage of promotion and prevention programs, as well as knowing their implications for each of the actors involved, be it the employer, worker, EPS or ARL.

Leave a Reply