A major problem in the detection of occupational injury and disease is the fact that most doctors do not obtain a complete history. If you choose to be treated by a physician outside of Pennsylvania, make sure he/she agrees to accept payments by your employer or its insurer as full payment for services rendered.
Doctors rarely ask you about your job, or your work environment. Sometimes they do not ask how you came to be injured. If your doctor does not ask, it’s up to you to tell him or her and make sure it is written in your records. If the doctor does not ask you about your job, it is up to you to tell the doctor about the workplace. If you have a medical problem that may have been caused by your work, you should clearly explain and describe your work environment to the doctor.
Some local unions have a clause in their labor contracts concerning the “right to know” what chemicals, solvents and other materials are being used in the plant. Under this provision, the employer provides the union with the written material it receives from the manufacturer of chemicals, including the Material Safety Data Sheet. This information then is held on file in the union office and organized by department. If you have a health problem, you should take the file concerning your department to your doctor so the doctor will have a better understanding of your work environment and whether it contributes to your health problems. Even if there is no “right to know” under a collective bargaining agreement, or no union where you work, you should do all you can to make sure the doctor understands the cause of your problems.