Occupational Asthma Claims

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Occupational Asthma Claims

Occupational asthma is a common lung disorder which is usually caused by being exposed to harmful substances or conditions in the workplace.

Characterised by shortness of breath and wheezing, around 90 per cent of those affected suffer from hypersensitivity-induced occupational asthma, while the remaining 10 per cent suffer from irritant-induced asthma or reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS).

Sufferers will have chronic inflammation of the air passages, which leads to a swelling and narrowing of the air passages and ultimately causes breathlessness. Symptoms vary depending on the level of exposure and type of asthma, but mainly include coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and difficulty exercising.

There are a number of occupations where workers can be particularly at risk of developing work related asthma, such as bakers and flour confectioners, metal workers and vehicle spray painters. Forestry workers, chemical, plastic, rubber and textile workers, electrical and electronic production workers, storage workers, farm workers, waiters, cleaners, painters, dental workers and laboratory technicians are all also potentially at high risk of developing the illness.

Any substance that can lead to asthma are called respiratory sensitizers, and chemicals known as isocyanates are the most common cause of occupational asthma in the UK. These are used in many occupations; particularly spray painting, foam-moulding using adhesives, and making surface coatings and foundry cores.

Substances known to cause occupational asthma include:

  • Flour and grain dust used in industrial baking, farm work and grain transport.
  • Wood dust - particularly from hard wood dusts and western red cedar - used in carpentry and joinery.
  • Colophony, found in the electronics industry and present in soldering fumes as well as glues and some floor cleaners.
  • Dust from latex rubber usually found in latex gloves used in nursing, catering and dentistry.
  • Animal and insect dust from laboratories and farm work.

If you think you might be suffering from occupational asthma, it is vital to consult your doctor immediately. To submit an occupational asthma claim, you will need to give them details of all your symptoms, your job and the types of material or substances you work with. If they suspect that you do have occupational asthma, they may refer you to a specialist for tests and a full diagnosis. If occupational asthma is confirmed, your doctor should, with your consent, advise your employer to relocate you away from the respiratory sensitizer.

How can Fentons help?

If you think you have a case for compensation, or require further assistance with an occupational asthma claim or any other industrial disease claim, why not call our freephone helpline on 0800 019 1297, alternatively fill in the brief industrial disease claim form.