Exposure To Harmful Chemicals & Fumes
You may have been diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of being exposed to chemicals and substances at work, such as asbestos, fumes or pesticides. It is important to instruct a specialist solicitor to help you make a claim for compensation.
How we can help…
You will need expert help when claiming for compensation for lung cancer developed through exposure to chemicals and fumes. It can be difficult to prove your condition was caused by your work, unless you were repeatedly exposed to chemicals and fumes by your employer and have a record of complaints about your problems. Your solicitor will work closely with medical experts and ensure you have the right expert witnesses to strengthen your case.
Our team has vast knowledge and expertise of claims of this nature. We can support and guide you throughout the process of making a claim, with options to discuss your case in person, over the phone, on Skype or by email, both inside and outside normal working hours.
Which chemicals and substances increase the risk of developing lung cancer?
Exposure to chemicals and substances can increase an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer, including: arsenic; asbestos; beryllium; benzine; cadmium; coal and coke fumes; silica; nickel, and pesticides. There is a growing body of research making a link between exposure to large amounts of diesel fumes for a period of many years and an increase in an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers including bladder cancer. Some studies estimate that this risk increases by up to 50%.
One study has shown that your risk of developing lung cancer increases by about a third if you live in an area with high levels of nitrogen oxide gases (mostly produced by cars and other vehicles).
What should I do if I’m pregnant?
If you are pregnant and work with hazardous chemicals or materials it is important that you inform your employer as soon as possible about your pregnancy. The early stages of pregnancy are known to be vital for your baby's development.
Various research studies have shown there can be a link where employees have worked with certain substances in the first trimester of pregnancy, but which apparently cause no ill effects (or the causal link between exposure and harm is less certain) in the general workforce; for example, workers in the electronics industry who have been exposed to photolithography processes or certain solvents.
A US study reported that there may be particular risks for pregnant workers in the semiconductor fabrication processes, especially masking and photolithography and use of ethylene glycol ether and fluoride-containing compounds.
What are pesticides?
Pesticides are biologically active chemicals used in the prevention and control of pest outbreaks in farm land, park land and in buildings. Pests may be animals, plants, fungi or micro-organisms. All pesticides must be approved for use.
Do any regulations protect employees from exposure to harmful chemicals and fumes?
Employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all employees, and other people that could be affected by their activities, under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) (as amended) work that may expose employees to any hazardous substances, for example pesticides, should not be undertaken unless a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks created by that work has been carried out.
What should employers do?
- Use a non-hazardous substance instead of a dangerous pesticide if possible, or find an alternative method of control.
- Carry out a COSHH risk assessment on the pesticide and its intended use, if there is no viable alternative.
- Appoint a suitable person to carry out the risk assessment and advise on the prevention and control of exposure.
- Choose the pesticide that poses the lowest risk.
- Put in place control measures to prevent or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately control the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health.
- Take all reasonable steps to ensure that control measures are properly used or applied.
- Ensure that control measures are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, in good repair and in a clean condition.
- Adequately monitor, where relevant, any exposure to substances hazardous to health.
- Put in place a health monitoring procedure where appropriate.
- Provide employees who are exposed to a hazardous substance with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training.
- Put in place accident, incident and emergency procedures to protect employers from an incident involving hazardous substances involving a pesticide, eg personal contamination and spillages.
Under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended in 1997), users of pesticides should be satisfied that the pesticide selected does not present undue risk to animals and the environment. Persons using a pesticide approved for agricultural use must have a certificate of competence.
Under EC Regulation 1107/2009 only authorised plant protection products can be advertised, sold, supplied, stored and used. This is implemented by the Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011, Plant Protection Products Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 (as amended) and Plant Protection Products (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2011 (as amended).
Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, certain work-related incidents involving pesticides have to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority. These include fatal injury, acute illness or loss of consciousness resulting from absorption of a substance and cases of phosphorus poisonings diagnosed by a doctor.
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