Linking an illness to exposure to your working conditions can be difficult. This is particularly true in the case of an illness like silicosis, where symptoms can take up to 20 years to appear, often long after you've left the work environment where it started to develop.
Other illnesses, such as asthma or arthritis, have a number of other causes such as lifestyle, age or genetics, which means it may not be clear the condition is work-related.
However, it is possible to link certain medical conditions with specific occupational causes thanks to previous judgements and case precedents that are supported by medical evidence.
For example, in 2012 it was ruled that people who had developed lung cancer after working with coke ovens for a certain period of time were entitled to compensation, as there was an established link between the fumes inhaled during the work, and the development of the disease.
If you've developed a condition that is commonly linked to a certain type of work, we'll arrange for you to see a medical expert who will examine your symptoms and discuss your work environment with you to make a judgement to the best of their medical knowledge.
Common Occupational Illnesses And Their Causes
The following is a list of illnesses that are commonly linked to working conditions:
- Acoustic shock: hearing damage caused by sudden loud noises, often through a telecoms headset.
- Asthma: respiratory problems caused by inhaling dust, vapour, gases or fumes.
- Bursitis: joint pain caused by crawling, or working on your knees.
- Chemical poisoning: a range of issues caused by exposure to either a harmful substance, or an unsafe level of an everyday material. This can often result in dermatitis.
- Noise-induced hearing loss: hearing damage, such as tinnitus, caused by excessive exposure to loud noise.
- Osteoarthritis: debilitating joint pain caused by repeated strain or impacts on joints, often caused by heavy lifting.
- Repetitive strain injuries: a number of different injuries caused by using vibrating tools, heavy lifting, and other sources of stress to the limbs. This can include carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and hand-arm vibration syndrome/vibration white finger.
- Silicosis: respiratory problems caused by inhaling silica dust.
If an exposure to harmful substances happened a long time ago, proving a link can be more difficult, but it is possible – find out more about how we do this.
If you've developed an illness that you think may have been caused by your working environment – even if you aren't completely sure – contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We'll offer our advice on whether we think you can claim, and we’re happy to answer any questions that you have.