Illness caused by exposure to Heavy Metals at Work
Metal poisoning is the toxic build-up of heavy metals within the
soft tissues of your body. It is your employer's duty to provide you with a safe
working environment and practices to ensure you do not become ill.
If you become ill following exposure to heavy metal's then you may be able to make
a claim for compensation under your firm's Employer's Liability Insurance. Find
out more about
heavy metal poisoning compensation and how our experts can help you.
What are heavy metals?
Heavy metals have a high density eg (>5.0). Examples include:
- Arsenic (eg has metallic properties)
Exposure to heavy metals
Heavy metals have a high toxicity level and can enter the body in a variety of ways
- Ingestion (eaten or taken in through the mouth)
- Inhalation, or can be
- Absorbed via the skin
Signs and symptoms of heavy metal poisoning
Symptoms will vary dependent on your age, level of exposure and on the type of metal,
but general signs can include:
- Personality changes eg irritability; depression; sudden anger; nervousness
- Numbness and tingling
- Chronic fatigue
- Cold hands or feet even in warm weather
- Bloating and fluid retention
- Memory problems
- Tremors or shakes of head, hands and feet
- Twitching of face and other muscles
- Leg cramps
- Ringing or noise in the ears
- Shortness of breath
- Itching, rashes and skin irritations
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Chest and joint pain
- Burning sensation on the tongue
- Renal problems
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnosis and treatments
There are many treatments and each are specific to the type of metal you have been
exposed to. The most common form of treatment is chelation therapy ie a metal-specific
chelating agent is often given either intramuscularly, orally or intravenously.
If you believe you are suffering from metal poisoning you should contact your GP
immediately in order that they can provide you with the right treatment and avoid
any long term damage.
A medical professional should be able to detect if you are suffering from poisoning
by doing urine and blood tests, tissue and hair analysis, or x rays. It is important
to know that the diagnosis can often be overlooked, however, if you believe you
have been put at risk you need to ensure that your doctor takes a thorough history
from you highlighting your occupation.
Your employer's duty to you
If you are exposed to metals during the course of your occupation it is your employer's
duty to provide shielding clothing and respirators which must be worn at all times.
Any protective clothing must not be worn home and should be left at work, by wearing
it home you could be putting you family at risk of toxic dust.
Claim Compensation for your injuries
Call our occupational disease helpline today on freephone: 0808 129 3320 or use our free, no
obligation, online enquiry form and we will call you back.