Shortness of breath is just one of several difficult symptoms sufferers of asthma at work have to cope with on a day to day basis. This shortness of breath is caused by inflammation of the lining around the lungs, which leads to swelling in the area. Combined with a tightening of surrounding muscles, this swelling then causes narrowing of the airways and, as such, a reduction in the amount of air that can pass through them.
Other uncomfortable characteristics of asthma at work include chest-tightness, coughing, wheezing.
Work related asthma can be caused by prolonged exposure to certain allergens or triggers. Such triggers may for instance, consist of:
- Flour dust and enzymes contained therein
- Coal dust
- Dust mites
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
- Animal dander or hair
Excessive stress at work, excessive strenuous activity, certain medications, respiratory infection, and changes in the weather can also trigger asthma attacks.
Accidents at work leading to short but intense exposure to harmful substances, like those listed above, are also sometimes responsible for occupational asthma.
Employers and asthma
Health and safety laws in the UK ensure that employers have a duty of care to their employees. This means they are legally bound to do everything in their power to protect their employees’ health and safety. In other words, they have to assess potential risks of work accidents or occupational illnesses, and take the necessary steps to prevent injuries at work and the development of occupational health issues.
Prevention of asthma
In working environments where workers may be exposed to the risk of developing asthma at work, steps to minimise this risk could include, for example:
- Installation of adequate filtering equipment
- Provision of dust masks and/or other personal protective equipment
- Provision of training in the use of protective gear
- Introduction, implementation and training in safe working procedures
Where these measures leave even a minor risk of workers developing this occupational disease, regular health screening should also be offered.
If you suffer from this industrial illness as the result of continued exposure to allergens or an accident in your working environment, you may be eligible to claim work injury compensation.
Where to get help
Get professional legal assistance by using Accident Advice Helpline’s Freephone service. Confidential and obligation-free, this 24-hour helpline is manned by competent advisers, who are able to establish your claim eligibility and offer you the help of our nationwide legal team.
What’s more, our services are backed by over 15 years’ specialist experience in the industrial injury claim industry.
Give us a call today on 0800 689 0500 for more information and to speak to one of our advisers.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice