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If you have contracted COPD due to your workplace environment our personal injury solicitors can help you with a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) compensation claim. If you have been exposed to allergens, dust or pollution at work, that has led to a diagnosis of COPD you need not suffer in silence Contact us today for qualified legal advice from a specialist personalal solicitor. Our COPD compensation solicitors will advise you on how you can proceed with a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease compensation claim and obtain damages from an employer who has failed to protect your health and safety and has undermined your quality of life.

You have a legal right to work in a safe environment and employers who fail to act appropriately are breaking the law. If you have contracted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or another respiratory disease and you believe that it may be due to an employer paying insufficient attention to health & safety in the workplace you may be entitled to receive substantial compensation. Do not simply accept respiratory disease as a cost of doing a certain job or working for a certain firm. Such problems should have been avoided and employers are under legal obligations to carry out risk assessments on potential sources of illness in the workplace and to install appropriate safeguards, mechanisms, equipment and training to avoid compromising employees’ health and safety. Contact our COPD compensation solicitors today if you have any concerns.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory lung disease caused as a direct result of employer negligence affects thousands of people in the UK every year. The consequences of these occupational illnesses are not limited to serious health problems including fatalities and early death but they can also have devastating effects on employment, family relationships and social life. Our COPD compensation solicitors have detailed experience in dealing with respiratory lung disease and are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts.

What is COPD?

What exactly is COPD? It stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which is an umbrella term for a range of breathing disorders in which the airways of the lungs become inflamed, causing a feeling of having obstructed airways and an anxious sensation of being unable to properly breathe. This sensation is deeply unpleasant and is especially frightening for older people. COPD makes exercise difficult, sleeping troublesome and both rest and work can be difficult.

COPD usually refers most prominently to two respiratory diseases that may be contracted as a result of poor air quality in the workplace. The first refers to chronic bronchitis, a deeply uncomfortable chest condition in which inflammation of the airways results in wheezing, breathlessness and tiredness. Chronic bronchitis causes the mucus glands in the respiratory system to over-react and produces mucus that causes coughing and spitting. The second refers to emphysema, a condition in which the lung tissue is severely damaged restricting oxygen transfer within the lungs.

Respiratory diseases resulting from an unhealthy working environment which may contribute to COPD include:-

  • occupational asthma
  • asbestos related disease
  • occupational bronchitis
  • emphysema
  • pneumoconiosis
  • silicosis

Injury to the lungs occurring at work may be caused by inhalation of gases, fumes, vapour, dust or micro-organisms. The site and degree of the lung reaction is determined by a number of factors :-

  • the physical and chemical properties of the substance inhaled
  • the intensity and duration of exposure
  • the presence of pre-existing lung disease
  • individual differences in susceptibility

The occupational diseases of the respiratory system are usually divided into three categories :-

  • due to inorganic or mineral dusts
  • due to organic dusts
  • due to irritant gases and chemicals

Many types of fumes and dusts can irritate the lungs stimulating increased mucus production and leading to cough and phlegm. People who already have a lung problem, such as asthma or bronchitis, are more susceptible to the effects of irritants. Some conditions result from an abnormally sensitive reaction of the body to dust and fumes. Once sensitisation has developed, even minute quantities of the substance, which would not cause harm to a non-sensitised individual, can present a serious hazard.

COPD High Risk Occupations

There are numerous noxious substances that individuals working in a variety of locations may encounter. Fumes and smoke are two of the most obvious examples. Those working in welding, smelting and furnace work are at risk - the heating and cooling of metal results in fumes that can cause fine particles to enter the lungs. Similar problems can occur in rubber manufacturing factories, in potters’ workshops and in plastic moulders. Fire fighters and workers in energy producing industries are at particular risk of inhaling smoke. Other substances that are known to cause occupational illness include dust from wood, cotton, asbestos and fibreglass. Noxious gases including ammonia and sulphur dioxide may be found in scientific and engineering jobs in which chemical reactions are performed at high temperatures and also in welding, brazing and smelting works. Vapours and solvents from paint, varnish, pesticide and cosmetics may cause workers breathing difficulties.

The causes of COPD include smoking and exposure to a poor environment in the industrial workplace. If you work with metals, wood, oil, coal or other raw materials and are exposed to gases, vapours, dust or fibres you may eventually suffer from COPD. Scientists and technicians in a laboratory setting both in private and public organisations including research and university facilities may also suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Jobs associated with an increased risk of occupational respiratory disease and COPD include: construction, carpentry, baking, soldering, laboratory work, hairdressing, bird breeding, milling, drug manufacture, nursing, food processing, textiles, forestry, horticulture and metalworking. Occupations especially at risk include :-

  • coalminers
  • farmers
  • asbestos workers
  • workers with epoxy resins
  • isocyanates workers

Respiratory Disease Symptoms

If you are a worker who could be liable to encounter noxious substances, observe whether you have symptoms including respiratory irritation, nose and throat discomfort and more generally, flu-like symptoms that fail to clear after a few days. Noxious substances can cause bronchitis and allergies, characterised by respiratory wheezing and discomfort. Metal fume fever and polymer fume fever result from exposure to metal fumes and polymer fumes respectively. The development of adult asthma and emphysema may also result from exposure to irritants in the air.

Employer Negligence

An employers is under a duty to reduce the risk of respiratory lung disease including COPD and regulations are contained in "The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994" and other statutes. These Regulations require the employer to:-

  • carry out an assessment of substances hazardous to health which should include:
    • an identification of the hazards and assessment of the risk to health
    • consideration of prevention of exposure to the hazardous substances
    • the steps which need to be taken to achieve adequate control of exposure where prevention is not reasonably practicable
  • identification of other action necessary to comply with the regulations operate a system of health surveillance
  • keep employees fully informed about risks and review procedures
  • control exposure and use controlling methods
  • install extractor fans
  • provide safety equipment

COPD Compensation Solicitors

Your employer has a legal obligation to protect your health, safety and welfare and to protect you from exposure to the substances that give rise to COPD. If they fail to assess the risks and act upon them appropriately, then you have a right to seek compensation for the losses you have incurred including time off work and damages for pain & suffering.

If you suffer from an injury which is as a result of your employer failing to take adequate care to protect you then we can help you to get the compensation you deserve. Our COPD compensation solicitors will assess your case at no cost and will then deal with your claim using the risk free no win no fee* scheme 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 believe that you are suffering from respiratory lung disease including COPD and would like free advice from accredited experts just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will discuss your claim on the telephone with no further obligation.



*Legal Information

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