Key FAQs: Can I Claim For Work-Related Diseases & Illnesses?
To give you some background on how prevalent work-related diseases and illnesses are, it’s important to look at the latest trends from government statistics. Each year, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) publish statistics from what’s known as the Labour Force Survey, and this gives an insight into the number of new cases of work-related ill health. The latest data was collected in 2012, and showed that there were an estimated 1.1 million people with a work-related illness and over 450,000 new cases that year.
On top of this, there are (on average) 13,000 deaths each year from occupational lung cancers and diseases alone – this is typically caused by exposure to chemicals and dusts in a working environment. While the current trends for new diseases seem to be falling, which is fantastic, there are still millions of existing cases – and serious conditions, like asbestos-related illnesses, seem to be rising.
What’s Classed As A Work-Related Disease?
The HSE state that a work-related illness or industrial disease is ‘a condition or illness that arises from exposure to dangerous substances or unsafe working conditions’. This could be anything from immediate physical injuries and musculoskeletal disorders through to developing illnesses such as deafness, blindness and asbestos-related lung diseases.
Providing your condition wasn’t pre-existing to an extent (e.g. asthma which existed before working in dust environments) then it can be classed as Industrial Disease – and if your employer didn’t give you a safe environment or any safety equipment to protect you, then they could be at fault.
Has My Employer Broken Any Laws – Who Is Responsible?
Legally, your employer is responsible – it’s up to them to ensure that hazards are minimised or avoided, that you’re provided with a safe environment to work in and providing you with necessary safety equipment and training .
For illnesses which may develop more slowly, over a number of years or several decades, then you may find that your employer might claim there’s no way to prove a causal link between your working conditions and your illness – in this instance, you should seek medical advice from a doctor or specialist and get legal advice from experts here at Tranter Cleere Solicitors. This will allow you to amass medical evidence to help support your case.
What If My Employer’s Company No Longer Exists?
It’s common, particularly for slowly developing conditions such as mesothelioma and deafness, for someone to have been exposed to the working conditions responsible years or even decades ago – and it’s quite likely that the company you once worked for, who could be responsible, is no longer trading.
This doesn’t mean that you’re unable to make a claim – people or still-existing firms responsible can be tracked down and made to appear in court to face the claims of negligence, so please do contact us, regardless of how long ago it was you worked in that environment. This is vital for people who may have contracted a disease from exposure to dust, loud noises or chemicals over a longer period of time.
Who Can Help Me With My Claim?
There are plenty of charity organisations established that can help with emotional and financial support, as well as specialist organisations with information and statistics on work related illnesses. It’s also worth looking at the Health & Safety Executive’s work-related ill health and occupational disease resource, as this contains a really comprehensive amount of data and legal obligation information.
Once you feel that you have all the information you need, you should contact us here at Tranter Cleere Solicitors. We will deal with any accidents, injuries or illnesses due to negligence and can treat your case with professionalism, consideration and sympathy – ensuring the processes isn’t stressful, but you still get the results you deserve.
For any more information or advice, contact our team today on 0800 6 12 11 13 – we’re always available to help.