Industrial Disease Claims
Industrial disease is a blanket term that can be used to describe a wide variety of conditions or illnesses that are caused by the exposure to unsafe conditions or dangerous substances at work. Some of the most common examples include repetitive strain injury, asbestosis, mesothelioma, industrial deafness and vibration white finger.
All UK employers are legally required to provide their staff with a safe and secure work environment. Under health and safety laws, they must take all steps that can be considered reasonably possible to protect employees from accidents or illness. If your employer has failed to meet their duty of care, and it has resulted in you developing an industrial disease or illness, you could be eligible to claim compensation.
Personal injury solicitors have vast experience in helping the victims of workplace illnesses recover compensation. Your solicitor will provide a no win, no fee service, meaning you don’t need to pay any upfront costs to start your claim. You also have the benefit and financial security of knowing that if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t be charged a penny.
Examples of industrial diseases
There are various illnesses and diseases that an employee may be prone to contracting through their duties and working environment. Some of the most common types of industrial diseases that solicitors help clients claim compensation for include the following:
- Asbestosis and mesothelioma – these are types of lung cancers that are most commonly caused as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres within the workplace. Symptoms usually present themselves many years after exposure to the asbestos fibres, and the conditions can of course be fatal. Employers need to ensure that specialist equipment, training and safety measures are provided for any members of staff who may be exposed to asbestos at work.
- Repetitive Strain Injury – the term RSI covers a range of physical conditions that are caused by the excessive repetitive movement of body parts. The hands, fingers, wrists and elbows and most commonly affected. For example, if your job involves typing, you may suffer repetitive strain injury to your hands if you work continuously without taking sufficient breaks. Employers are legally obliged to ensure that adequate rest and preventative methods are employed in order to protect their staff.
- Vibration White Finger – this is a condition that may be suffered by workers who use vibrating power tools and machinery for long periods without sufficient breaks or the appropriate protective equipment. Commonly, claims for this illness are associated with workers who are required to use pneumatic tools such as drills and chainsaws as part of their job, such as those in the construction and mining industries.
- Industrial Deafness – excessive noise in the workplace can cause total or partial deafness to employees. It may be possible to claim against employers who do not meet their legal duty to minimise risks and observe required safety measures.
- Occupational Asthma – this respiratory condition relates to a chronic inflammation of the breathing passage that is caused by being exposed to certain triggers in the workplace. This could include certain chemicals, excessive dust, paint fumes, etc.
- Industrial Dermatitis – this is an inflammatory reaction to the skin that is can be triggered when the skin comes into direct contact with irritants such as chemicals, oils, nickel, rubbers, etc. Employers should carry out risk assessments and ensure workers that come into contact with potentially dangerous substances are provided with appropriate PPE such as gloves.
How much compensation will I receive for my claim?
The term industrial disease covers such a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries that the compensation awarded in these cases in massively varied. As with all personal injury claims, the amount of damages awarded for an industrial disease is dependent on the particular circumstances of your case.
The Judicial Studies Board (Judicial College) provides recommended minimum and maximum compensation amounts for each type of injury and illness. These guidelines are used by solicitors, insurance companies and the Courts to determine how much compensation an injury or illness should warrant.
On top of damages for the pain and suffering caused by your industrial disease (known as general damages), you can also claim for any financial losses you have incurred (called special damages). If your illness or injury has meant you have had to take time off work, you would be able to claim back your loss of wages. Other costs you can recover include travel expenses, such as taxi fares to doctors appointments, and medical expenses such as treatment required to aid your recovery.