DOL Signs NIH Agreement to Speed Evaluation of Occupational Illness Claims

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized an interagency agreement with the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Library of Medicine that expedites evaluation of toxic substance, chemical, and disease profiles for faster publication in Haz-Map, a major Internet-hosted occupational disease database.

Haz-Map is designed for use by health and safety professionals, and consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to toxic substances and/or chemicals. It assists the department in evaluating claims filed under Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

"We are constantly looking for ways to streamline our claims process and reduce wait times for EEOICPA claimants to get the compensation and medical benefits they deserve," said Shelby Hallmark, director of the DOL's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. “The Haz-Map system will help us do that. Haz-Map's faster posting of new data will improve the department's capability to adjudicate claims more quickly."

Congress enacted Part E on Oct. 28, 2004, to compensate eligible U.S. Department of Energy contractors and subcontractors and certain individuals potentially covered under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. To be eligible, it must be established that an employee's exposure to a toxic substance was at least as likely as not a contributing factor in causing, contributing to, or aggravating that person's illness and/or death.

DOL has contracted with Haz-Map's chief architect, Dr. Jay Brown, to research toxic substances and chemicals commonly present at covered EEOICPA facilities.

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