How To Recognise If You Have A Work Related Illness
- AuthorHelen Elstob
An individual who has developed an occupational illness may be entitled to claim compensation from his/her employer and/or benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions. More commonly known conditions are asbestosis, pleural thickening and mesothelioma, which are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. There are, however, other conditions that can occur in the workplace, including upper limb injuries, vibration white finger and industrial deafness.
Work related upper limb injuries are usually caused by continuous repetitive work requiring the use of force without adequate rest breaks or change of position. Typical jobs that have recognised risk factors include assembly line workers, construction workers, factory workers and administration workers. The injuries suffered include damage to the ulnar nerve, trigger finger, tennis elbow, tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms may develop over a period of time and it may be a while before an individual realises that the condition is caused by the nature of their work. Employers are under a duty to carry out a risk/ergonomic assessment and if they fail to do so they may be potentially liable for damages to an injured employee.
The time limit for commencing an action is three years and the period commences from the date of knowledge of the condition or symptoms. It is, therefore, important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Vibration white finger is caused by exposure to high levels of vibration and symptoms include whitening of the fingers, particularly the finger tips, which is cold induced. An episode is likely to cause pain and altered sensation until the hands are warmed up and feeling and sensation returned. It is often the case that an individual has had vibration assessments carried out at work, but the diagnosis has been unclear. It is important to take action at that time, even if the result of the assessment is not known.
Industrial deafness is caused by exposure to high levels of noise that permanently reduces an individual’s hearing capacity. It can also cause ringing/buzzing in the ears, a condition which is known as tinnitus.
The damage is caused at the time of exposure to the high levels of noise. However, it is unlikely that an individual will realise that he/she has sustained damage at that time and it is only as time progresses that an individual may become aware of hearing problems. I often come across instances where individuals have been aware of their symptoms for a long time, but have failed to take any action. Bearing in mind that the time limit for making a claim will normally commence from the onset of symptoms, however mild, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as symptoms are noticed.
I am experienced in dealing with these type of work related claims. I am currently pursuing local companies (trading and insolvent) for damages, including SSI, Head Wrightson, Caparo Forging, Nifco and Darchem. If you believe you have suffered from a work related illness, we may be able to offer you a ‘No Win, No fee’ agreement to pursue a claim.
Email me or call me for a confidential chat.