We are leading specialists in Occupational Asthma.
Asthma is a respiratory disease which presents through attacks of spasm in the lungs making it difficult to breath and for the lungs to absorb oxygen. Typical symptoms include;
Tightness of the chest
These symptoms can be triggered in response to various stimuli such as dust, fume, smoke, grass pollen, cold air, exertion or stress / anxiety. Asthma can be constitutional in origin, i.e. occurs naturally or it can be caused, aggravated or exacerbated by exposure to various substances or work activities, in which case it is known as occupational asthma.
One in 10 cases of asthma in adults (both new asthma symptoms and childhood asthma symptoms returning) is caused by work related factors (Asthma UK).
Research published by SWORD (Surveillance of Work related and Occupational Respiratory Disease) and the IIDB (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit) schemes denote the following substances as the most common causal agents of occupational asthma;
Substances and their associated Industries or Occupations
Click on any of the panels below to discover more about each substance and it’s assocuite industry/occupation.
Vehicle spraying, foam manufacturing, industries using isocyanate based glues in manufacture i.e. laminated wood products
Flour/ Grain / Hay
Dock workers, food industry (milling, malting, baking), flour dust and enzymes which contain additives such as amylase)
Laboratory animal work, pet shops, stable owners, zoo keepers – animal fur, feathers, dander, dried urine and saliva dusts. These dusts contain proteins known as animal aeroallergens
Kitchens, food retailers, care homes, hospitals, laboratories, healthcare work – 2 substances that can cause asthma latex and diathermy
Manufacture involving the curing of epoxy resins and flooring
Grain dust, poultry dust or other dusts that are a mix of materials from fungal spores, bacteria, endotoxins, mites, animal dander and faeces, plant dust, soil, bedding, feed and feed components, chemicals etc
In the period 2009 to 2014 the highest incidence rate of occupational asthma where those involved in vehicle paint spraying and baker’s / flour confections.
In the UK legislation protects employees by virtue of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations COSHH. The employer has a duty to monitor and assess risk or prevent and control it entirely, impose health surveillance for its staff working with substances hazardous to health and to provide information, training and instruction.
You need visit your General Practitioner if you think you are suffering from occupational asthma as soon as your symptoms persist. Your GP may treat you with asthma medicine in the form of inhalers (preventer or reliever) and may monitor your symptoms –v- exposure and draw up a written asthma action plan in order to manage it better. The Doctor or a Consultant will assess the severity of your disability on a scale of 1-100%.
You may be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or if you developed asthma whilst serving in the Armed Forces, compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in addition.
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