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Industrial Disease – Occupational Asthma


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Occupational asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways; this is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Asthma at work can be caused by a variety of things, namely in the inhalation of hazardous or toxic dusts, gases, fumes and vapours. These inhaled substances can the damage the lining of the lungs resulting in shortness of breath (dyspnea), wheezing and painful coughing. Occupational asthma can also surface as an allergic reaction to certain airborne substances such as flour or wood dust. Substances like these are known as ‘respiratory sensitisers’ or asthmagens; these can cause changes in the airways of affected individuals known as the ‘hypersensitive state’. Once the lungs become hypersensitive, continued exposure to the substance, even at low levels, can elicit an attack.
Deleted: Occupational asthma symptoms can develop immediately after exposure to a substance at work. In some cases however, symptoms may not appear until several hours later, possibly at night. This can sometimes make any link with workplace activities unclear.

What Causes Occupational Asthma?

Deleted: There are a variety of known occupational asthma causes, many of which are due to hazardous substance exposure. Your employer however, has a legal responsibility to minimise the risk of this exposure. In instances where it is not possible to prevent these hazardous substances from becoming airborne, the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used to prevent inhalation. These can include respirators, air filtration systems as well as a variety of other working techniques.


Asthma Compensation Claims

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, require employers to prevent or to control exposures to hazardous substances to protect employees’ health. The Health and Safety Executive also provides an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) for the control of substances that can cause occupational asthma.

 Employers are also bound to a variety of other legislative pieces that clearly define their legal duty of care to their employees. Generally speaking, it is their responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for staff. Where this is not possible Personal Protective Equipment and training must be issued to reduce these risks as much as is practically possible. Where such care is not provided, the employer is being negligent in their duties.

These legal obligations are very clear, so if you fall victim to asthma at work as a result of their negligence, they are liable to pay compensation to make amends. Occupational asthma is frustrating at the least, and debilitating in severe cases. This will have negative consequences for your day-to-day life, as well as for your performance at work. For these reasons, it is imperative that you begin a claim for occupational asthma compensation as soon as you feel that you might be affected.

You should speak with a specialist industrial disease solicitor so that they can begin compiling a case. If you instruct us to handle your claim, we will collate all of the required evidence and medical proof to substantiate your claim whilst providing expert support and advice throughout the process; saving you from all the hard work.

We understand that being diagnosed with occupational asthma can be stressful, and that the resulting time off work and loss of income can be frustrating. No one knows this better than our expert industrial disease solicitors. Here at Beacon Law, we can provide assistance for any occupational asthma case. By speaking to us, you will be guaranteed to receive the utmost care and attention whilst we deal with your claim.

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