From January, compensation for the sick due to toxic substances during work

People who have been exposed to toxic substances during their work and have become seriously ill as a result receive a one-off financial compensation. In January, the regulation will start, writes Minister for Social Affairs and Employment Van Gennip to the House of Representatives.

Thats half a year later than was actually foreseen. To this end, the minister has decided because it takes more time to connect all systems of the authorities that have to implement the regulation. Victims are paid out around 21,000 euros.

Initially, it concerns three occupational diseases: lung cancer due to asbestos, allergic asthma and chronic encephalopathy, better known as painters disease. Later, more occupational diseases may end up on the list.

Freelancers

For patients with the painters disease, a nervous disorder, a similar arrangement was already made in 2019, but not everyone was eligible for it. At the time, only salaried people received compensation of almost 21,000 euros. Under the new scheme, for example, freelancers can also claim compensation.

Victims of asbestos exposure could also receive financial compensation in some conditions, but patients with lung cancer due to asbestos fell out of it.

Center of Expertise

One of the bodies involved is the National Expertise Center for Substances Related Occupational Diseases (Lexces). This will start on 1 July. It was decided to set up after a report on the difficult handling of claims for damages for such occupational diseases, which killed around 3,000 people each year. A multitude of them get sick. Often, employees have to litigate for years before they receive financial compensation.

Experts from universities and medical centers work together in the expertise center, among others. They devise ways to determine whether a particular disease is really due to exposure to toxic substances at work. That is not always easy. Lung cancer can be due to asbestos, for example, but also by smoking or inhaling particulate matter.