Can I claim compensation for illness caused by my work?

Often, when hearing or reading the phrase ‘accident at work’, people assume it refers to a one-off incident such as an accident with a piece of equipment or a trip over some loose wiring. The truth, however, is that many work based compensation claims arise as a result of conditions which build up over many years. It’s the responsibility of your employer to see to it that the environment in which you work is one which will not prove detrimental to your health. If they fail in this duty of care then they’ve let you down badly and it’s only right that you should be able to seek compensation.

An illness which is caused by poor working conditions can take many forms. If you work in an atmosphere containing fine dust particles, for example, but aren’t provided with the correct protective breathing equipment, then your lungs may become damaged and gradually develop a condition such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or pneumoconiosis. Although illnesses such as these are commonly linked to heavy industries like mining, they can arise whenever someone breathes in contaminated air on a regular basis.

Even if you work at a less strenuous, desk-bound job, it’s vital that the right steps are taken to avoid the development of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), a painful condition which centres around the lower arm and is the result of the same small movements being made repeatedly. It could be something as simple as being allowed to take regular breaks but, once again, it is your employer’s responsibility to see that all reasonable steps are taken.

If your employer has been negligent and failed to protect you from the damaging effects of your work then it may be many years until the full consequences become apparent. This shouldn’t stop you seeking compensation, however, since it would be grossly unfair for you to have to suffer the twin blows of long term illness and the financial deprivations this can cause, and all through no fault of your own. A successful claim will reimburse you for any immediate expenses as well as paying an amount calculated on the basis of future lost earnings and the overall impact upon your life.

 

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