The number of instances of occupational related asthma have declined in recent years. However, if you or a loved one are suffering from coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath and believe that it may be as a result of your current or previous working conditions then you may have a compensation claim for occupational or industrial asthma.

High risk occupations

Occupations where employees are most at risk of developing an industrial related asthma include:

  • bakers
  • flour confectioners
  • vehicle paint technicians

Whilst there is no universally accepted definition of “occupational asthma” the HSE define it as adult asthma caused by workplace exposures and not by factors outside the workplace or cases where pre-existing asthma is worsened by the work environment.

Occupational asthma falls into two main groups:

  • allergic occupational asthma
  • irritant induced occupational asthma.

Allergic occupational asthma

Allergic occupational asthma accounts for many of the cases of industrial or occupational asthma and involves a latency period between the first exposure of the specific cause in the working environment (the respiratory sensitiser) and the eventual symptoms.

Irritant-induced occupational asthma

Irritant-induced occupational asthma normally occurs within a few hours following the exposure to high levels of an irritant fume, gas or vapour in the workplace.

Common irritants and agents that can result in occupational asthma include:

  • cleaning products
  • cutting oils and coolants
  • enzymes, amylase
  • flour / grain
  • hardening agents
  • isocyanates
  • laboratory animals
  • latex
  • solder / colophony
  • stainless steel welding
  • wood dusts

Duty of care

Employers have a duty to reasonably protect their employees from exposure to substances that may be hazardous to their health and should assess, monitor and control exposure to hazardous substances.

Employers, the self-employed and individuals in control of work premises are responsible for reporting instances of occupational asthma to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) using the RIDDOR reporting system.

Contact us

If you or a loved one has developed asthma and consider it was as a result of workplace exposure please contact our team to discuss bringing an occupational asthma compensation claim. Our Industrial Disease lawyers can be contacted on Freephone: 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no-obligation chat. Alternatively please complete the request a call back form and we will call you.