About 20 percent of our nation’s farm workers live or work in California. Migrant and seasonal farm workers in the state rank as one of the most underserved and understudied populations in the U.S. in regard to health. However, the industry can also be dangerous when employers do not take steps to protect these workers. Agriculture has been one of the deadliest U.S. industries for decades. Farming may even account for twice as many deaths as all other industries. There’s a magnitude of occupational health problems, yet there are no comprehensive studies to address the occupational health problems among migrant and seasonal farm workers and their dependents.
What is Considered an Occupational Disease?An occupational illness is generally defined as a chronic ailment that a worker develops as a result of his or her job. As long as the condition is directly related to the worker’s occupation, he or she can claim it under workers’ compensation, and then continue to maintain a steady salary while taking time off from work. Claiming this workman’s compensation ensures that all medical bills related to the ailment are covered. The broad range of occupational illnesses, injuries and diseases include:
- Respiratory Illnesses such as mesothelioma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Skin disorders including eczema and contact dermatitis
- Hearing Loss related issues
- Overexertion and injuries caused by strains like hernias and joint injuries