Certain conditions are formally recognized as occupational diseases when they have been contracted as a result of exposure, during insured activity, to health hazards at a higher level than the exposure for the wider population. Formally recognized occupational diseases are indicated on the list of occupational diseases which is issued by the German government with the approval of the upper chamber. Other diseases may also be recognized as being occupational in origin if new medical/scientific findings show them to meet the criteria for inclusion in the list of formally recognized occupational diseases.
Disputes over occupational diseases
Occupational diseases are a complex issue, and their formal recognition frequently becomes a matter for the courts. The fates of individuals collide with statutory limit values, individual cases with standardized patterns. Inevitably, difficult distinctions must be drawn. The legislator has nevertheless attempted to find the best solution for all parties concerned. This solution ensures that the disease was indeed caused by the occupational activity (principle of causality): only then is it justifiable for the costs to be met by the statutory accident insurance, which is financed exclusively by employers' contributions.