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Exposure to harmful substances and processes in the workplace can casue a range of lung and respiratory diseases.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2017 41,000 people, who had worked in the preceding 12 months, had "breathing or lung problems" they felt had been caused or made worse by their work.

And of all people who had ever worked, an estimated 147,000 were suffering from "breathing or lung problems".

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates that around18,000 new cases of respiratory diseases are being reported each year.

Respiratory disease is a general term covering a number of conditions that can develop as a result of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. These include:

All of these diseases, with the exception of occupational asthma, have a long latency period. This means that there is a long time between the date the exposure to hazardous substances or detrimental working conditions took place and the date on which the symptoms begin to show.

This can be a serious complication if you are thinking about making a compensation claim against your employer, and means that expert advice is essential.

Causes of respiratory disease

Lung and breathing problems can be caused by a wide variety of factors including airborne substances, gases and fumes.

The LFS reports the following factors that were identified from 2009 to 20012 as having been responsible for causing or making ill-health worse:

  • 20% – General work environment (hot/cold/damp/wet/dry etc.)
  • Almost 20% – Dust from stone, cement, brick or concrete.
  • 13% – Airborne substances from spray painting or manufacture of foam products.
  • 10% – Airborne materials form welding, soldering, or cutting/grinding metals.
  • 7% – Dusts from flour, grain/cereal animal feed or straw.

Employers must, by law, protect their workers from exposure to these and other risks to health.

Workplace air must be clean and employers should reduce the risks by either providing alternative work processes, using less hazardous materials, ensuring adequate enclosures and ventilation, or, as a last resort, providing suitable protective equipment in the form of masks and respirators.

Respiratory Disease Compensation Claims

Thompsons Solicitors is the leading personal injury legal firm in the country. We have a specialist Lung Disease team, dedicated to fighting for the rights of people who have been negligently exposed to materials such as asbestos. 

Start your compensation claim now. Call us on 0800 0891 331 for no win no fee help and advice. 

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