Occupational Illness Figures Rise


Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Unfortunately, many employers continue to expose employees to hazardous environments that can leave people suffering from serious illnesses.
Medical Statement

Common Occupational Illnesses

It is estimated that 1.2 million people who were working in 2013/14 were suffering from an illness believed to be caused by work.

These figures, released by Labour Force Survey (LFS), also saw an increase in new work related ill health and occupational illnesses. The newly reported cases rose from 452,000 in 2011/12, to 535,000 in 2013/14.

Common industrial illnesses include:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Asbestos lung cancer
  • Occupational/industrial asthma
  • Silicosis
Almost half of newly reported cases (48%) involved Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). MSDs can cause pain in the muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons in the body. The disorder can be caused by fractures from accidents and also by repeatedly putting strain on an area, which can commonly be the case in some workplaces. The LFS figures show that MSDs have contributed to 8.3 million days off work in total.

Phillip Gower, our Partner specialising in Industrial Disease, commented on the rise in the numbers of industrial disease and work related ill health. "It shows that employers are still not doing enough to protect their workers from harmful environments."

Could I Be At Risk?

Some workplaces can carry higher risks of exposure to harm. Examples include those working in construction, manufacturers, cleaners, office workers, factory workers, engineers, miners and even those who work in bakeries.

Significantly, 38% of newly reported cases of occupational illnesses were due to stress, depression and anxiety. Phillip adds, "Mental ill health is still a major contributor. Employers need to recognise the importance of both physical and mental wellbeing at work."

What Can I Do?

Often, work related illnesses and industrial diseases do not show symptoms until much later than the initial exposure to harm. It is only at this point that you realise that you are left with a devastating and potentially life threatening condition.

Phillip highlights, "It is important to make a claim, not only because you may rightfully be entitled to compensation, but also because employers putting their employees at risk must be held accountable."

We at Simpson Millar LLP have a number of specialist solicitors that can help assess and pursue your claim. We are proud sponsors of the British Lung Foundation and "Action Mesothelioma Day", and we have a track record of recovering substantial compensation in occupational illness claims."

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