Who is Most at Risk of Developing Work Related Asthma?

Author:
Deborah Krelle
Partner, Head of Industrial Disease
Date:
04/12/2019

Work-related asthma can be caused by prolonged or repeated exposure to allergens or irritants in the workplace. People who work in certain industries will be exposed to these more often due to the nature of their work, such as:

      • Bakery and flour mill workers
      • Spray painters
      • Engineering and metalwork workplaces
      • Farms and agricultural workplaces
      • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
      • Pet shops, zoos, and animal laboratories
      • Woodwork and carpentry workplaces

Occupational asthma symptoms can become more severe with time, and may persist even if a person takes strong asthmatic medication or removes themselves from a harmful working environment.

If you believe your asthma symptoms are the result of exposure to allergens or irritants at work, get in touch with our Industrial Disease Solicitors. We offer a free initial assessment of your case and we may be able to handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis – so ask us for details.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

What Duties Do Employers Have?

Employers in England and Wales have a statutory duty to control an employee's exposure to fumes, dust and impurities, including allergens or irritants that can cause asthma. These duties are now embodied within the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, which state employers must:

      • Assess the health risks caused by hazardous substances in the workplace;
      • Assess exposure levels and put preventative measures in place if hazardous substances are identified;
      • Restrict exposure by implementing systems of ventilation and/or extraction if prevention isn’t possible;
      • Provide personal protective equipment if the use of a substance can’t be reduced.

Any breach of these regulations could form the basis of an occupational asthma compensation claim.

Employers must also make sure members of staff are aware of potential risks in the workplace and know what preventative measures to take when working with hazardous substances. Furthermore, they must regularly monitor their employee’s exposure to allergens and irritants and ensure they are aware of the risks and symptoms of occupational asthma. Additionally, employees should be encouraged to report any symptoms straight away.

What Are the Symptoms of Occupational Asthma?

Common asthma symptoms include:

        • Coughing
        • Wheezing
        • Tightening of the chest
        • Difficulty breathing

At first, you may not connect your asthma symptoms to your working environment so it’s important to think about whether you may have been exposed to anything harmful that could have triggered your condition. Speak to your GP about what could be causing your asthma as they may be able to help you establish if something harmful in the workplace has caused or exacerbated your condition.

If you start developing signs of work-related asthma, you should also raise the issue with your employer. By flagging it up as soon as possible they may be able to make changes to your job so it is safer for you, and potentially stop your asthma from getting worse.

How Long Do I Have to Claim Compensation?

An occupational asthma claim must be made within 3 years of the date you knew that you were suffering with the condition. It’s therefore best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after your diagnosis.

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors have years of experience representing clients with work-related asthma and helping them obtain the compensation they’re entitled to. If we take on your case, we’ll gather evidence of your employment history to pinpoint when the harmful exposure took place. And we’ll arrange an independent medical assessment, so the cause of your asthma can be identified, along with a longer-term medical prognosis.

We offer a free, initial consultation and may also be able to visit you at home (in England and Wales) to explain the options open to you.

For free legal advice call our Industrial Disease Solicitors

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