How Do I Prove My Cancer was Caused by My Work?

Posted on: 2 mins read
Deborah Krelle

Partner, Head of Industrial Disease

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To claim compensation for work related cancer, it must be proven that your employer negligently exposed you to a known carcinogen (substance which can cause cancer) such as toxic chemicals or asbestos dust and fibres.

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, the responsibility is squarely on employers to prevent members of staff from being exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace.

But if, for example, you weren’t told that your job would expose you to a cancer-causing substance, or adequate safety measures weren’t put in place to keep you free from harm, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Of course, there’s no single cause of cancer, and cancer can often be the result of genetic, lifestyle or environmental factors. This argument may well be used by some employers as soon as they’re asked to pay compensation, so it’s vital that you work with Industrial Disease Solicitors who can help you prove that your working conditions led to your cancer.

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors are experts in work related cancer claims and offer free legal advice. We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, and may be able to visit you at home or in hospital (in England or Wales) - ask us for details.

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What Can Cause Work Related Cancer?

People working in a wide variety of sectors can be exposed to one or more carcinogens on a regular basis. These can include:

  • Aromatic amines
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Diesel
  • Perchloroethylene (dry cleaning chemicals)

  • Formaldehyde
  • Leather dust
  • Metal compounds, such as cadmium and cadmium compounds; chromium VI compounds, nickel compounds, iron and steel founding, nickel sulfides and oxides; beryllium
  • Mineral oils

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Radon
  • Silica
  • UV radiation
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Wood dust

The COSHH (The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations are designed to protect workers from being exposed to hazardous substances such as those listed above during the course of their work.

Under the law in England and Wales, employers must carry out adequate risk assessments, and if harmful substances are identified, take steps to monitor and restrict an employees’ exposure, and put preventative measures in place. If the use of a substance can’t be reduced, employees should be provided with personal protective equipment.

Employees working in close proximity to known carcinogens should also be made aware of any potential hazards in the workplace and what safety procedures they can follow.

The above list of carcinogens covers many of the most common cancer causing substances in workplaces in the UK, but is by no means exhaustive. So if you believe another substance is responsible for your work-related cancer, you don’t have anything to lose by seeking free legal advice from an Industrial Disease Solicitor on claiming compensation.

How Long Do I Have to Claim for Work Related Cancer?

A compensation claim for work related cancer must be issued within 3 years of the date when you were first diagnosed with cancer and told that your work was probably the cause. If you’re making a claim on behalf of a relative who has died, you must make a claim within 3 years of the date of their death.

Common Work Related Cancers

While establishing the cause of a particular cancer isn’t always easy, there are various types which are known to be linked to exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.

  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Nasal and sinus cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Skin cancer

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