BELGIUM: what to expect from occupational illnesses in 2022

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In 2022, around 38,500 people received compensation for permanent disability due to an occupational disease. And nearly 13,000 workers (private sector and provincial or local administrations, APL) filed a claim for compensation; 211 deaths were recognised, 73% of which were due to asbestos, 17% to silicosis and 10% to other diseases. These are the findings of the Fedris “Statistical Report on Occupational Diseases” 2022.

Over the past 10 years, the number of people permanently unable to work due to an OD has fallen by 63% in the private sector and by 73% in the APL. This fall is due, among other things, to improved prevention and the positive effects of the decline in heavy and dangerous industry, as well as the lower number of former miners receiving compensation.

On the other hand, the number of people on temporary incapacity increased by 225% between 2013 and 2022. This increase can be explained by the recognition of tendinopathies (in particular carpal tunnel syndrome) as an occupational disease since 2013 and by a large number of Covid cases during the health crisis.

Claims to Fedris have fallen. In 2022, 11,012 private sector workers and 1,892 LPA workers filed one. For the private sector, this is exactly 5,000 fewer than in 2021 and 2,926 fewer than in 2020. This significant drop is linked to the reduction in Covid-19 cases. The main claims concerned tendinopathies (27% of the total), nerve function disorders (22%), pulmonary disorders (21%) and back and joint disorders (11%).

Last year, Fedris took 6,053 positive decisions for the private sector, of which 8% resulted in permanent incapacity to work and 51% in temporary incapacity to work. For APLs, of the 2,354 positive decisions, 1% concerned permanent incapacity and 55% temporary incapacity.

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