Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease leading to breathing problems. Occupational Asthma is where exposure to a substance at work can be shown to have caused the lung inflammation leading to Asthma. Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.
You may have occupational asthma if there is an improvement in your symptoms during periods spent away from work, on weekends or on holidays, and particularly if the improvement is seen while you are at home. This helps to show that whatever is causing your asthma is not in your own home, for example an allergy to pets.
Occupational asthma can affect people in a range of jobs
Occupational Asthma affects different people to different degrees. Some may be able to continue working as before but with some minor modifications to their working conditions, however others may have to give up their work and re-train in an entirely different career.
This type of asthma can occur in a whole range of different jobs and is caused by chemicals in fumes, dusts, furs etc. We have investigated cases for people working as paint sprayers, welders, woodworkers, nurses and vets.
Claims for Occupational Asthma
To make a claim for Occupational Asthma you must prove that:
your employer has breached his duty of care to you, for example has exposed you to a substance know to be hazardous to your health
their breach of duty caused (or materially contributed to) your occupational asthma,
the losses that you have suffered, as a consequence of their breach, are reasonably foreseeable. For example, you can't claim for losing the opportunity of becoming the managing director if the evidence shows that you would have remained in a more junior position.
There is a strict time limit of three years, with a few stringent exceptions, when you are allowed to make a claim against your employer. The three years begin from the date that you developed occupational asthma or, if later, the date when you knew you had occupational asthma and that it was (partly) due to work, so you must act quickly if you wish to make a claim.