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Fairfax Workers' Compensation Blog

What is the Federal Black Lung Program?

Many jobs have inherent dangers. We often hear about the risks that police officers, firefighters, loggers, fishermen and others face each day. But what about careers in which the dangers accumulate over time?

Coal miners, too, face hazards daily -- cave ins, poison gas, coal-dust explosions and more. But even more common among coal miners is black lung disease. In fact, the chronic respiratory ailment has hit a 25-year high in Appalachia. It affects nearly 20 percent of people who work in coal mines for 25 years or more. To combat this vocational epidemic, the federal government runs the Black Lung Program, providing benefits to workers who suffer from this disease and their survivors.

Can I obtain compensation for a repetitive stress injury?

Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are some of the most common injuries that workers suffer across the nation. Anyone from a construction worker to a manufacturer or even an office worker is at risk of sustaining an RSI during their career.

RSIs can cause individuals significant discomfort and pain that could potentially limit their movement and ability to complete their work. So, is it possible to recover workers' compensation for these work injuries?

A look at some of the most dangerous jobs in Fairfax

As you make your way around Fairfax, you see people at work in various jobs, some of which include significant risks to workers’ safety and health. You might hold one of the riskier jobs yourself, so you would understand the risk of injury better than most.

The workers who collect and dispose of Fairfax’s waste take care of a critical need, and they take some considerable risks of on-the-job injuries while doing so. Trash and recycling collectors are jobs near the top of any list of most dangerous occupations in the U.S., according to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Can you choose your doctor for a workers' compensation claim?

If you have been injured or suffer from a disease due to an on-the-job incident, you may be eligible for workers' compensation. Under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, employees are eligible for medical expense coverage, lost wage reimbursement and rehabilitation cost coverage due to illness or injury caused by work-related incidents.

You should report your injury to your employer immediately, but no later than 30 days after the accident happened. You may also want to file a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWCC) directly, to protect yourself. Otherwise, your employer should report the incident to the VWCC within 10 days, after you reported it to your employer.

Virginia's firefighters face an above-average risk of cancer

Every day, Virginia’s firefighters risk their lives to save others. They brave fires and smoke, but those may not even be the deadliest threats they face. Many fires also release carcinogenic chemicals into the air and put firefighters at a higher than average risk for cancer.

After 9/11, studies found that firefighters got hit by several types of cancer at a much higher rate than the general population. Most states have since responded by passing new workers’ compensation laws. They presume that firefighters diagnosed with these types of cancer got them on the job. But even with these new laws, some firefighters have had their claims denied.

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