The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) recently amended the conditions for compensability of pneumoconiosis, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, asbestosis, and other lung diseases. The new conditions for compensability of the said diseases are the following:
For pneumoconiosis, the worker must have been exposed to mineral dust subject to the condition that it will be supported by pertinent medical examination after considering a reasonable latency period.
In case of pneumonia, there must have been an occupational risk, such as in the cases of health care workers who are exposed to outbreaks and bird handlers who are exposed to Cryptococcus. It may also be a complication of a primary work connected illness or injury or a complication of chemical inhalational exposure such as among welders exposed to iron fumes.
Occupational asthma, on the other hand, is compensable if there was no past medical history of asthma before employment. The claim must be accompanied with clinical diagnosis consistent with occupational asthma and there must be workplace exposure to agents which will give rise to the disease.
As for asbestos-related diseases, the worker must have been exposed, for a sufficient duration, to dust in the workplace. The findings must be supported with appropriate diagnostic test like chest x-ray and the like. The illness must have a latency period of 10 years or more and it must be accompanied with impaired lung function except for lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The ECC also added two lung diseases in the list of compensable illnesses in order to keep up with the recent development in the field of occupational medicine. These are hypersensitivity pneumonitis and byssinosis.
In order for hypersensitivity pneumonitis to be compensable, the worker must have been exposed for a sufficient duration to an antigen known to cause the disease in the workplace. Such, however, must be certified by the employer or competent medical practitioner subject to the submission of diagnostic tests consistent with the diagnosis. While, the compensability of byssinosis requires that the worker must have been exposed to cotton dust for a sufficient duration, and must have been supported by a diagnostic test.
Employees’ Compensation claims for work-connected sickness or injury are filed at the Social Security System for the private sector and the GSIS for the government sector.
For detailed conditions for compensability under the EC Program, please call 899-42-51 or 52 or visit our website at www.ecc.gov.ph.