Asthma is a condition of the lungs that occurs within the general population regardless of the work done by the sufferer. It can also be caused by exposure to irritants or allergens within the work place.
Occupation asthma may be:
- Irritant-induced – where there is a one off exposure to an irritant (eg hydrochloric acid, chlorine, acetic acid, ammonia fumes or gluteraldehyde) that would cause wheezing and shortness of breath in anyone who inhaled them. The worker recovers from the acute phase but the airways remain reactive to dust and fume of any kind. Reactive Airways Disorder is a severe form of irritant-induced asthma
- Allergic – where a worker repeatedly inhales materials. The accumulated exposures lead to sensitisation of the worker’s airways and the worker develops an allergy to the substance. Any further exposures to the same substance trigger symptoms. Common allergens are isocyanates (found in paints and glues), welding fumes and latex.
The risk of an individual worker developing an allergy will depend on:
- The individual’s susceptibility to allergies (atopy) – eczema, hay fever and other allergies are markers that a person is more susceptible to developing allergic asthma, and
- The duration, frequency and quantity of the exposure
The employer’s statutory duties are set out in the Control of Substances, Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. It is necessary to show that the worker has been exposed to a ‘substance hazardous to health’, which can include both specific substances as well as ‘dust of any kind, when present at a substantial concentration in the air or other substance which creates a hazard to any person’.
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from Asthma as a result of your work you may have a claim.
Get in touch with us now, and one of our experienced team of qualified specialist personal injury lawyers will be able to advise you further.