Occupational Asthma Victim Unable To Return To Work Urges Employers To Put Safety First

Man Exposed To Chemicals Joins Lawyers To Call For Protection For Workers


An artificial limb technician who has been unable to work for more than a year as a result of occupational asthma he developed following exposure to harmful chemicals is calling on employers to mark World Asthma Day on May 5th by improving protection for their workers.

James Taylor, from Stourbridge, has not worked since January 2014 due to the ongoing health problems he has endured as a result of regular exposure to isocyanates during his employment at Opcare Ltd.

Specialist workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are working on behalf of James to help him secure the vital financial support he now requires as a result of his work related illness.

The legal experts are now joining with him to urge employers to mark World Asthma Day on May 5th by taking all necessary steps to protect workers from exposure to isocyanates or other harmful materials.

Expert Opinion
"Occupational asthma can be an incredibly debilitating illness and this World Asthma Day, we are urging employers to recognise the huge importance of protecting workers from the risk of such conditions – through the provision of proper safety equipment and training.

"James’s case is a prime example of the huge consequences that such conditions can have on victims, with his ongoing symptoms meaning further exposure to isocyanates could severely aggravate his condition – which is why he is unable at present to return to work.

"The theme of this year’s World Asthma Day is ‘controlling your asthma’, but we would go further than that and urge employers to do everything they can to prevent people from developing such conditions in the first place.

"Following the company’s admission of liability, we are now working to secure James the financial support he needs to get the most from life as a result of his condition."
Alex Shorey, Solicitor

James, 59, who has worked in the same role since the early 1980s, was formally diagnosed in May 2013.

He recalled: “I struggled with breathlessness and coughing for some time and then went to the doctors to get it checked out. I was stunned when I was diagnosed with asthma and it soon became clear how it had developed.”

The condition now means James is regularly attending appointments at the Birmingham Chest Clinic, where he is undergoing tests including checking his lung function to assist in the control of his asthma.

He added: “It remains difficult for me to believe that I am going to suffer from this condition for the rest of my life and it is particularly hard to bear that it has come about as a result of a job I’ve been doing for more than 30 years.

“This work is all I have ever known and I am having to face up to the fact I may never be able to return, which would mean trying to retrain for another job. This condition has completely changed my life and it is vital that employers take steps to stop others enduring what I have been through.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from respiratory problems - such as occupational asthma or silicosis - caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.