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What are an employee's rights about reporting exposures?

If you are injured on the job or exposed to toxins via your employment, you have certain responsibilities in order to be eligible for Workers' Compensation. Some of those include the following:

-- Reporting the exposure or injury to their employer.

-- The worker must provide the place and date of the alleged incident or exposure. This can be done verbally or in writing.

-- What is the acceptable time frame for reporting? The state of Illinois requires reporting "as soon as practicable," but not more than 45 days after an exposure or accident. Delays in notification can result in delays in benefits. When a radiological exposure causes injuries, workers have 90 days in which to notify their employer. This time period begins once the worker suspects or realizes he or she received a dose of radiation that was excessive.

-- Occupational diseases like mesothelioma have to be reported as soon as possible after the worker becomes aware of his or her condition.

When an employer is notified of an exposure or accident, they must:

-- Promptly provide necessary medical and first aid services.

-- Notify their insurance company or the Workers' Compensation administrator. They must do this even if they dispute a worker's claim.

When an exposure or injury is so serious that the employee is unable to work for longer than three days, their employer must:

-- Begin TTD payments, or;

-- Give their injured employees a written explanation of any additional information they require in order to initiate payments, or;

-- Give injured employees a written reason why their benefits are being denied.

To learn more about benefit eligibility requirements, workers may access the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission's website.

Source: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, "Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases," accessed July 31, 2015

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