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Occupational Disease: Part 6. Diseases: Occupational or Pre-existing?

by James Henry Abrina on 08/09/12 at 3:04 am


In a report compiled by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in 2009 and published in Philippine Industry Yearbook of Labor Statistics, work-related musculoskeletal diseases topped the list of occupational diseases in the Philippines. These are the lesser serious cases with include back and neck-shoulder pain, shoulder tendinitis and the infamous carpal tunnel syndrome, which is often developed from repetitive wrong posture of the hands while doing work in front of the computer.

Peptic ulcer and essential hypertensions follow next but may also be contested by employers as primary ailments or pre-existing conditions – illnesses that are either hereditary or possibly developed at an earlier time prior to employment.

However, the most widely accepted diseases in the row are occupational dermatitis and bronchial asthma. Occupational dermatitis is a type of contact dermatitis where the allergens are acquired from the work environment. For some workers exposed to similar risk, this may seem a normal skin reaction caused by a hard day’s work due to the lack of understanding of the chemicals and irritants regularly used in the workplace. Manual laborers from the construction, manufacturing and agricultural industries often experience such condition, but they stay unprotected most often than not, physically and legally.

Many victims consider the condition less dreadful that does not require exacting legal process for compensation. This is, of course, notwithstanding the cause.

Bronchial asthma, a commonly reported occupational respiratory disease, is also often seen among Filipino workers, whether toiling on a menial job or office setting. Many studies relate it to environmental risks, most of them found in workplaces. Unfortunately, as it is the most prominent pre-existing condition as well (even medical insurance companies classify it as pre-existing), direct connection is not readily acceptable. Patients with bronchial asthma, whether authentically connected with past jobs or not, will have hard time proving the claim to the authorities.


James Henry Abrina is an editor, writer, SEO specialist and currently a Corporate Communication Professional, Market Desk Strategist, Business Development Officer and Unit Head for Business Profiles Incorporated.

He currently specializes in security management and business intelligence. Together with the company, he advocates Business Continuity Planning to change how the Philippine business sector sees the definition of crisis response and management.

For more useful information, read his articles at Invisible Squares and Masscom Tutor. Or his EzineArticles page.

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