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It's estimated that over 2 million workers in a wide range of industries and occupations in the United Kingdom are regularly exposed to agents known to be associated with the development of asthma. Occupational factors have been associated with up to 15% of disabling asthma due to environmental exposure to substances in the air that may cause respiratory irritation in susceptible individuals. Workers most likely to develop occupational asthma are those with a personal or family history of allergies or asthma however frequent exposure to sensitizing substances can cause occupational asthma to develop in those with no known allergies. Only a small proportion of workers who are exposed to known irritants go on to develop this disease. Those who have been exposed due to an employers negligence and subsequently suffer from a respiratory illness are entitled to instruct an occupational asthma solicitor to make a compensation claim.

Employers Liability

Your employer has a legal obligation to make sure your health and safety is protected in the workplace. If an employer fails to adequately assess risk and does not provide adequate safety equipment or instigate safe working practices and you contract a respiratory disease as a result, then you have the legal right to claim compensation. If you are suffering from occupational lung disease, do not suffer in silence nor neglect your chance to claim compensation by allowing the time limits to expire. Contact our occupational asthma solicitors today for expert legal advice on a compensation claim.

Occupational asthma occurs when individuals inhale irritants at work which causes the airways of the lungs to become inflamed, the muscles in airways to stiffen and over-compensatory mechanisms in the body to produce mucus, stimulating coughing and spitting. The consequences of these symptoms are shortness of breath and a feeling that the victim cannot breath freely. These are distressing and often frightening symptoms that can significantly hinder quality of life and when an attack occurs, can result in time off work with potential financial repercussions. An occupational asthma solicitor can take legal action for compensation to redress the balance in your favour.

Should your employer have provided you with better protective equipment – face masks and mouth guards for example? Perhaps they should have ensured your exposure to susceptible chemicals was limited or avoided altogether? Our occupational asthma solicitors will examine whether your employer is liable for your condition and whether their inability to protect you has given rise to occupational asthma. Contact our occupational asthma solicitors as soon as possible and seek advice on whether you are eligible to claim damages for pain and suffering and financial losses as a result of asthma acquired whilst at work.

Asthma Risk Category

When should you be concerned that you may have contracted occupational asthma? First consider whether you are a worker who falls into a risk category. Do you work with chemicals, dust, vapours, paints, insulation foam or upholstery materials? Are you involved with packaging materials? Alternatively, working with animals may cause occupational asthma because of the properties of hair and dander that can activate the condition. Those who work with food, may suffer from asthma induced by fine substances such as flour and dust from cereals or preservatives. Dust from materials including cotton and fumes from metals may also activate occupational asthma.

If you have suffered from wheezing and tightness in the chest, mucus secretion, coughing and breathlessness, whilst at work or after you leave work, you may be suffering from occupational asthma. An attack is most likely to occur shortly after work. To avoid recurrence, the victim should demand that the employer installs safety mechanisms and should also visit a solicitor with a view to claiming occupational asthma compensation.


Occupational asthma is a lung disease in which the airways overreact to dusts, vapour, gases, fumes or other respiratory irritants that exist in the workplace. It is usually reversible however permanent lung damage can occur if exposure to the substance that causes the disease continues. In highly sensitive people even very low levels of exposure may provoke an episode. When these irritants are inhaled :-

  • airway inflammation begins
  • muscles in the airways tighten
  • the airway tissue swells
  • too much mucus is produced

Occupational Asthma Symptoms

Workers may be exposed to a wide variety of airborne contaminants, such as dust, welding fumes, gases, sandblasting dust, solvent vapour and mists. Inhaling dirty workroom air can irritate the respiratory system and cause sneezing, coughs, chest tightness or difficulty in breathing. Prolonged exposure over months or years can lead to chronic long-term lung disease including chronic bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. Studies carried show that in most cases asthma develops in 6-12 months but may occur within 10 days or be delayed as long as 25 years. Indicators of occupational asthma include :-

  • cough or wheeze that improves away from work
  • a high risk occupation
  • worsening of pre-existing controlled asthma
  • newly diagnosed asthma in an adult

Occupational Asthma Solicitors

Our occupational asthma solicitors will deal with your claim on a no win no fee* basis otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you would like free legal advice about making an occupational asthma compensation claim just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will speak to you on the telephone with no obligation.



*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here