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Lawmakers take action for some affected with work-related illness

Those who work in hazardous work environments face many dangers both from the job itself and from side effects of being exposed to dangerous substances. Sadly, in spite of the work these employees perform, they are often left struggling for assistance when they are afflicted with a work-related illness. There are likely many Missouri residents who have become ill from performing their assigned job duties in the manner instructed.

Recently, lawmakers in one state took measures to ensure that workers who were exposed to hazards at a nuclear site are entitled to apply for benefits from the state workers' compensation program. These employees, who have struggled to obtain assistance for years, were supposedly covered by the state's Department of Energy. However, their claims for benefits have purportedly been denied more than five times the regular percentage rate as other workers.

The bill includes a list of the diseases that workers may have experienced as a result of exposure to the various elements and toxins that have been detected at the site. Workers have purportedly been exposed to these hazards going back several decades, including a recent incident that occurred while workers were dismantling a portion of the site. The list includes various cancers, neurological illnesses and lung conditions.

Legislatures passed a bill that will be submitted to the governor after one final amendment is approved. It contains provisions that would cover workers who only had a one-time eight-hour shift. One Washington state representative protested that the bill goes too far and that there are other conditions that could lead to a worker contracting the included ailments. There are conditions that will be taken into consideration before a worker will be approved, but this bill at least provides an avenue that will hopefully allow more employees of the nuclear plant to qualify for much-needed assistance.

Countless Missouri workers likewise face hazardous conditions on the job. Suffering a work-related illness through no fault of one's own is a frustrating and often devastating consequence of one's profession. Those who have become ill or suffered a serious injury may benefit from seeking the assistance of an attorney who handles these claims on a regular basis in order to obtain all of the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: tri-cityherald.com, "WA Senate passes Hanford worker compensation bill", Annette Cary, Jan. 26, 2018

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