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Occupational diseases

An occupational disease is an illness caused by a risk factor in the work environment or the nature of work mentioned in the list of occupational diseases (in Estonian). Occupational diseases are characterised by slow, gradual development. The disease may be so unnoticeable that the person cannot even suspect it. An occupational disease is a long-term illness and its main cause is a physical, physiological, chemical, or biological risk factor related to the work. It also often happens that one person has several occupational diseases.

The circumstances and causes of an occupational disease are determined by an investigation conducted by the employer, in which the working environment representative or, in the absence thereof, the representative of the employees, must participate with the right to vote. If the employer does not have the necessary knowledge, they must involve a competent expert in the investigation.

The employer submits a report on the results of the investigation to the victim or their advocate and to the local authority of the Labour Inspectorate. The report specifies the measures taken by the employer to prevent a similar occupational disease. The employer registers cases of occupational diseases and communicates the relevant information to the working environment specialist, the working environment commissioner, the representative of employees, and the working environment council. Attention must be drawn to the fact that the data on the health status of an employee obtained in the course of an investigation of an occupational disease are sensitive personal data which are processed pursuant to the procedure provided for in the Personal Data Protection Act. Records of occupational disease research are kept for 55 years.