Hazardous Substances Claim
Some of the most serious injuries at work occur when workers are exposed to hazardous substances.
What are hazardous substances?
The chemical industry is the most obvious example of an industry that involves handling hazardous substances, but you may be surprised to hear that there are hazardous substances, capable of causing injury in a wide variety of workplaces.
The following are typical claims which have arisen from exposure to hazardous substances:
- Occupational asthma resulting from exposure to chemicals used in the boatbuilding and other industries.
- Dermatitis caused by exposure to powerful detergents and other cleaning products.
- Burns including to the eyes from splashing with acid or alkalis.
- Breathing problems from exposure to chemicals or dust.
- Mesothelioma caused by breathing in asbestos fibres.
See an example of how Levenes’ serious injury claim solicitors were able to help a client who developed occupational asthma.
Employers must not do any work or allow any employee to do any work until they have carried out a suitable assessment of the risk to employees and then implemented the necessary measures to control the risk.
The employer must ensure that the risk is either prevented or adequately controlled.
Risk assessments should be updated regularly and not just be a paper exercise.
Safe systems of work must be drawn up and employees given regular training to make sure that everyone understands safe procedures.
Hazardous substances must be stored very carefully.
Warning signs must be used and must be informative.
Training should also include what to do in the event of injury, for example, ensuring that spillages are handled carefully and quickly. All workplaces must have trained First Aiders and in the case of a workplace where there are hazardous chemicals, the first aiders must know what to do in the event of contact with the skin or lungs.
Employers should carry out regular medical checks where workers are at risk of exposure.
From time to time, when employers neglect their duties under these regulations, injuries occur.
If you suffer an injury as a result of exposure to a hazardous substance, you will be able to make a claim for compensation for your injuries and losses.
How are Employees Exposed?
Exposure can happen in a variety of ways.
Industries that create fumes and dust need to have systems that suck the contaminated air away from the employee.
Employees also need suitable personal protective equipment for example masks, gloves, boots, and suits.
In many cases, air extraction systems are not properly maintained and do not efficiently extract the dirty air. Employers issue masks that are not good enough for the task, air filters quickly get dirty and/or are not replaced often enough. Gloves that are not thick enough or long enough are used.
In all these cases, the employer has not adequately controlled the hazard, and this is the cause of injury.
Why choose Levenes?
We work diligently for our clients to help them put their lives back together and at the same time obtain the maximum compensation. With us on your side, you can expect:
- Over 100 years of combined experience – We have proven results; we are lawyers who fight for you with a record of success.
- Strong litigators – We are not afraid to take your case to court if we have to. We stand up for the rights of the injured and not for the rights of the big corporations.
- Empathy – We pride ourselves on our compassion and understanding and we are easy to talk to. We always put your interest first and we treat you as our family.
- A personal approach – Your case will be handled directly by one our partners with support from our team of lawyers.
- A tailor-made approach – Every client is treated individually and not as a number, to achieve the best possible result that you deserve.
- Clear communication – We talk to you in a down to earth way. We avoid legal jargon unless it cannot be avoided, and if so, we explain things clearly and simply.
- Maximum compensation – We have the courage to fight for what you are entitled to.
- Full attention – We have the resources to focus on every detail of the case and consider every angle. We do not spread ourselves too thinly – you deserve our full attention.
Claim for exposure to hazardous substances
If you have suffered injury or ill health as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work, you can make a claim for compensation.
In order to prove your claim for injuries that occurred as a result of the negligence of your employer, you must prove that you came in to contact with a hazardous substance and that this was the cause of you injury.
In many cases, such as burns caused by being splashed with powerful chemicals this will be obvious. In other cases, exposure may be as a result of breathing in microscopic particles of dust or fumes and the damage may not be immediately obvious.
In cases of occupational asthma, for example, if you suffer with your breathing but this greatly improves after a 2-week holiday away from work, then this may be a clue as to what is causing your ill-health.
In all of these cases, we will obtain the necessary expert medical evidence to prove that your injury was due to exposure. In some cases, experts in environmental health and industrial hygiene will assess the control measures in the workplace.
It can be helpful to get the support of your workmates if other workers are complaining of similar problems with their health. Medical attention is vital. In burns cases this is obvious and goes without saying but in asthma cases, you should consult your GP and tell your GP if you believe that your working conditions may be causing or contributing to your ill-health.
Time limit for making a claim
The time limit for making a claim is 3 years, but it can be complicated as to when the 3 years began. In a case of burns from a chemical leak, this will be obvious as the 3-year period runs from the date of the incident.
In the case of exposure over a long period of time, then the 3 years begins to run when it was obvious or should have been obvious to you that you had suffered injury or ill-health which might be due to exposure to a hazardous substance.
It is very important that as soon as you have spoken to your doctor you contact us. Once a doctor has said that your ill-health might be related to your work, then time is running, and we advise that we start working on the claim immediately.
In mesothelioma cases, the diagnosis can be decades after the exposure and in those cases, we have to work fast to get all the necessary evidence as soon as the condition has been diagnosed.
How much compensation can be claimed?
When there are serious injuries, there is often a need for a number of medical and other expert assessments to be made before the value of your claim can be assessed properly and professionally.
Our team of compensation lawyers will also ensure that you claim for all losses that you can, including losses that you have suffered already and losses that you are likely to suffer in the future. Therefore, in order to recover all your financial losses and expenses, you should preserve any documentary and/or photographic evidence, such as invoices, receipts, etc.