Workers are often exposed to infectious and occupational diseases but rarely contract them. Healthcare workers are exposed daily and can easily be infected even while taking all possible precautions. A teacher could be bitten by a student or a veterinary assistant could be bitten by a rabid dog. A health care worker may be pricked by a contaminated needle. If you catch a virus at work that you would not normally be exposed to at home you may be eligible for workers compensation.
If you suspect an incident on the job has caused or may cause infection it is important to do the following:
- Report the incident – workers compensation should provide further testing to confirm the infection or negative test results.
- Check your company policy for the proper procedure when exposed to a potential infection. Most healthcare facilities will have a protocol setup to follow but lower risk occupations may not have a written protocol.
Some diseases may not appear until after you retire or move to a different job. It is important to checkup with your primary care physician annually to document any abnormalities especially if you have a high risk occupation. We have found that welders and lawn care workers were exposed to cancer causing agents. It is possible annual physicals would show the symptoms progressing and better document their claims for future recovery.