OCCUPATIONAL ASTHMA

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;

Wheezing

Coughing

Breathlessness

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.

Isocyanates

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)

Animals

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

Cleaning products

Kitchens, food retailers, care homes, hospitals, laboratories, healthcare work – 2 substances that can cause asthma latex and diathermy

Hardening agents

Construction, woodworking

Soldering flux

Electronic assembly

Wood dusts

Sawmilling, woodworking

Epoxy glue/Resins

Manufacture involving the curing of epoxy resins and flooring

Agriculture

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

Occupational Asthma 1

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.

Occupational Asthma 2

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.

If you think you are suffering from Occupational Asthma contact Simcox Oliver Solicitors to obtain expert advice on 0161 804 8004, or send us a message using the form below.

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