Occupational asthma compensation claims

If you have developed occupational asthma and you feel it is a direct result of your working environment, contact our expert industrial disease solicitors as you could be entitled to compensation for your condition. To speak with an expert no win, no fee solicitor about your occupational asthma compensation claim, call us on 0203 816 0065.

What is occupational asthma?

Occupational asthma is caused when a person is exposed to a particular substance whilst at work. Symptoms can develop almost immediately and cause the sufferer's airways to narrow, resulting in breathing difficulties. Regular asthma can subside over time, but in cases where a person is continuously exposed to particular substances whilst at work, this can cause occupational asthma which will potentially affect the sufferer for the rest of their lives.

Symptoms of asthma may include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness across the chest. Asthma sufferers may experience further difficulty if they develop a cold or flu, are exposed to cigarette smoke (or if they smoke themselves) and can also face difficulty if they come in to contact with animal hair, pollen and dust.

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What causes occupational asthma and who is at risk?

Occupational asthma can develop even if a person does not already have asthma. Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that the numbers of occupational asthma cases have seen a steady decline since the year 2000, but there are certain occupations that are still very much at risk of developing this debilitating condition.

Those who work in bakeries and vehicle paint sprayers have been identified as the most ‘at risk’ group. Due to their profession these groups are consistently exposed to either flour (bakers) or isocyanates (vehicle paint sprayers) which are used in the production of polyurethanes. 

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What can cause occupational asthma?

Occupational asthma can be caused when a person is exposed to the following substances as part of their working environment:

  • Flour
  • Grain
  • Isocyanates
  • Latex
  • Colophony
  • Enzymes
  • Henna
  • Maleic anhydride
  • Methyltetrahydrophthalic anhydride
  • Nickel sulphate
  • Opiates
  • Some reactive dyes
  • Rosin-based solder flux fume
  • Some softwood dusts
  • Soybean dust
  • Egg proteins
  • Ethylenediamine
  • Fish proteins
  • Coffee bean dust
  • Cow epithelium/urine

These substances can be industry specific and your employer has a legal responsibility to minimise or reduce the exposure to these substances. Employees at risk of inhaling these substances should be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times which may include respirators and/or air filtration systems. If your employer fails to provide you with the appropriate safety equipment and you are injured as a result and develop occupational asthma, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. 

There are specific and highly detailed regulations in place to protect employees from being exposed to hazardous chemicals and substances in the workplace. These regulations are called The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). If your employer fails to follow these regulations you could be in danger of developing occupational asthma.

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Diagnosing occupational asthma

The best person to diagnose a case of occupational asthma would be a doctor as diagnosis is not straightforward. Often, occupational asthma can carry with it the same symptoms as lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and even heart disease so we would recommend that you seek medical help as soon as possible if you are suffering from any symptoms.

To determine whether you are suffering from occupational asthma your doctor will take into account your medical and work history. They will ask you what your role is and what equipment you have been provided with.

They will take into account any recent symptoms that are affecting you and whether they could be aggravated by exertion and/or allergies.

In addition they may have to pursue further testing of your lung function with a peak flow meter or spirometer and may have to prescribe a course of medication to open your airways to aid in further examinations.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with asthma, they will be able to help determine the cause. If indeed your symptoms get worse whilst in your working environment, you will have to take steps to reduce your exposure to any harmful substances. In some cases you will be asked to attend regular check-ups and be prescribed medication to help alleviate and even prevent any debilitating symptoms.

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Making a compensation claim

If you or someone you love has developed asthma and you believe it could have been caused by your working conditions, call the expert solicitors at Stephensons to discuss your occupational asthma compensation claim today. In addition, if you have asthma and you believe your condition has worsened due to unsafe work practices, you may be entitled to compensation.

Your employer has a legal obligation to reduce the risk of exposure to any hazardous or dangerous chemicals and substances. If they fail to do so, they may be liable to pay compensation.

Occupational asthma can have serious negative effects on your daily life, often becoming extremely debilitating. If someone else is to blame for you developing an occupational disease, you deserve compensation.

Often people feel a little nervous about making a claim against their employer, but this is not something you should worry about. Your employer cannot dismiss you for making a claim against them. In addition, a claim will highlight any areas where safety improvements could be made, therefore making your workplace a safer place for all employees.

Stephensons has an expert team of industrial disease solicitors ready to help you claim compensation for your injuries and have the experience you need to pursue a claim on your behalf. We will work with you to compile all the evidence needed and obtain medical proof of your injuries to help bring about a positive compensation claim. We have dealt with a number of compensation claims regarding occupational asthma and have the expertise you need.

We offer legal services on a no win, no fee basis and handle everything on your behalf, providing you with the support you need and keeping you informed every step of the way.

To speak to an expert industrial disease solicitors about your occupational asthma compensation claim, call us on 0203 816 0065 today.

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