Asthma in the workplace costs £millions

Dated:

Research has shown that people who suffer from asthma caused by their workplace costs the UK at least £100 million every year.

Around 3,000 new cases of occupational asthma are diagnosed every year across Britain, but the research suggests that many more people have occupational asthma than are diagnosed with it.

There are 3 most common sources of occupational asthma:

  • isocyanates used in insulation, paints, car seats, underlay and laminate;
  • latex, such as the gloves used in healthcare; and
  • flour or grain
Work related asthma

The research looked into all the financial impacts of workplace asthma, for the employee and for the businesses involved. Direct costs included the need for healthcare and benefits but indirect costs were added in, such as lost productivity amongst affected staff and the impact of lost income for the business.

The research found that around half the costs fell on the individual people affected by occupational asthma and just under half on the state, with employers affected by about 4% of the costs.

The authors concluded that huge savings could be made if people were less exposed to substances that cause occupational asthma. It says that employers must take more responsibility for workplace asthma by bringing in better health and safety measures and making changes to work processes.

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