Occupational and work-related diseases in community law and in the legislature of selected EU member states – a comparative perspective
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński / Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland (Wydział Prawa i Administracji, Katedra Prawa Pracy i Polityki Społecznej / Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of Labour Law and Social Policy)
Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera / Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Klinika Chorób Zawodowych i Zdrowia Środowiskowego / Departament of Occupational Diseases and Environmental Health)
Online publication date: 2021-07-13
Corresponding author
Andrzej Marcinkiewicz   

Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera, Klinika Chorób Zawodowych i Zdrowia Środowiskowego, ul. św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź
Med Pr 2021;72(5):549–560
Work-related diseases that are not included in the occupational diseases lists have become a significant social phenomenon, generating increasing costs for the EU member states and for European employers. The impact they have on workers’ health and claims results in a need to implement changes in the legislation, which in Poland is currently limited to providing protection and prevention of already established occupational diseases. In the review, a formal-dogmatic approach was used, in a manner of analyzing the current state of Polish legislation and court rulings based upon it. The Polish legal framework was compared to that of the 3 EU member states selected on the basis of their regulations concerning occupational and work-related diseases (Germany, Finland and Ireland). The presented arguments indicate the purpose of the need for a change in the Polish legal framework of occupational and work-related diseases in the direction of either the Finnish or German model. The current Polish law forces people suffering from those work-related diseases which are not recognized as occupational diseases to seek legal remedies under general provisions of civil law, which demands proving not only an adequate causal link between the type of work and the disease but also the employer’s culpability, which puts the affected employee in a worse legal situation than those suffering from an established occupational disease. The provisions of the statutory law implemented in the Federal Republic of Germany provides a solution for a fraction of the abovementioned problems deriving from the referred differences in occupational and work-related diseases regulation, while the Finnish model, based on causality, instead of the legal definition of occupational disease as such, practically allows for a complete elimination of the problem. Med Pr. 2021;72(5):549–60