CHAPTER 241 - DELAWARE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LAW

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 175 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, ENTITLED DELAWARE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LAW, BY EXTENDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUCH LAW TO OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That 6114. Section 44 of Chapter 175 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be amended by striking out all of the said 6114. Section 44 and substituting in lieu thereof the following new 6114. Section 44:

6114. Section 44. Terms Construed:--The term "injury" and "personal injury" as used in this Chapter shall be construed to mean violence to the physical structure of the body, such disease or infection as naturally results directly therefrom when reasonably treated and compensable occupational diseases, as are hereinafter defined, arising out of and in the course of the employment. When death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this Chapter, it shall mean death resulting from such violence, its resultant effect when reasonably treated as aforesaid and occurring within two hundred and eighty-five weeks after the accident, and compensable occupational diseases, as are hereinafter defined, arising out of and in the course of the employment.

When applicable in this Chapter to compensable occupational diseases the following words and phrases shall be construed to have the following meanings:

Compensable occupational diseases shall not include any other than those scheduled below and shall include those so scheduled only when the exposure stated in connection therewith has occurred during the employment, and the disability has commenced within five months after the termination of such exposure:

Occupational Diseases:

Anthrax;

Lead Poisoning;

Mercury Poisoning;

Arsenic Poisoning;

Phosphorus Poisoning;

Benzene, and its homologues, and all derivatives thereof;

Wood Alcohol Poisoning;

Chrome Poisoning;

Caisson Disease;

Mesothorium or radium poisoning;

Carbon Disulphide;

Hydrogen Sulphide.

Willful self-exposure to occupational diseases shall include (1) failure or omission to observe such rules and regulations as may be promulgated and posted in the plant by the employer tending to the prevention of occupational diseases, and (2) failure or omission to truthfully state to the best of the employee's knowledge, in answer to inquiry made by the employer, the location, duration and nature of previous employment of the employee in which he was exposed to any occupational disease as herein listed.

The compensation payable for death or disability total in character and permanent in quality resulting from an occupational disease shall be the same in amount and duration and shall be payable in the same manner and to the same persons as would have been entitled thereto had the death or disability been caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.

In determining the duration of temporary total and/or temporary partial and/or permanent partial disability, and the duration of such payments for the disabilities due to occupational diseases, the same rules and regulations as are now applicable to accident or injury occurring under the act to which this act is an amendment or supplement, shall apply.

Unless the employer during the continuance of the employment shall have actual knowledge that the employee has contracted a compensable occupational disease, or unless the employee or someone in his behalf, or some of his dependents, or someone on their behalf, shall give the employer written notice or claim that the employee has contracted one of said compensable occupational diseases, which notice to be effective must be given within a period of five months after the date when said employee shall have ceased to be subject to exposure to such occupational disease, no compensation shall be payable on account of the death or disability by occupational disease of such employee.

All claims for compensation for compensable occupational disease shall be forever barred unless a petition is filed in duplicate with the secretary of the Industrial Accident Board, within one year after date on which the employee ceased to be exposed in the course of employment with the employer to such occupational disease as hereinabove defined, or in case an agreement of compensation for compensable occupational disease has been made between such employer and such claimant, then within one year after the failure of the employer to make payment pursuant to the terms of such agreement; or in case a part of the compensation has been paid by such employer, then within one year after the last payment of compensation.

Whenever it shall appear that any disability from .which any employee is suffering following the contraction of a compensable occupational disease, is due in part to such occupational disease, and in part to a pre-existing disease or infirmity, the Industrial Accident Board shall determine the proportion of such disability which is reasonably attributable to the said occupational disease and the proportion thereof which is reasonably attributable to the preexisting disease or infirmity, and such employee shall be entitled to compensation for that proportion of his disability which is reasonably attributable solely to the said occupational disease, and shall not be entitled to compensation for that proportion of his disability which is reasonably attributable to the pre-existing disease or infirmity.

Section 2. That Chapter 175 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out and repealing Paragraph (c) of 6115. Section 45 of said Chapter.

Approved May 19, 1937.