Chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition featuring symptoms including persistent coughing, usually producing green, white or yellow phlegm; sometimes breathlessness and, in some cases, wheezing. Bronchitis is considered to be chronic when these symptoms are experienced for a minimum of three out of 12 months for a consecutive period of two or more years.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Like emphysema, chronic bronchitis is often referred to as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is most commonly caused by heavy smoking, but there are several other potential causes of chronic bronchitis, including:
- Repeated occurrences of acute bronchitis (which is typically caused by viral lung infections).
- Atmospheric pollution (in particular high sulphur dioxide concentrations).
- Exposure to fumes or dust at work.
Workers in the coal mining industry are particularly at risk of developing work-related COPD.
Work-induced COPD or chronic bronchitis may be the result of prolonged exposure to even comparatively low concentrations of dust or fumes. Workplace accidents leading to the sudden release of very high concentrations of toxic fumes or dust may also be responsible for causing long-term industrial diseases like COPD.
Employers are required by law to prevent industrial illnesses by minimising exposure to potentially dangerous fumes and dust. This may involve use of special air filtration systems, provision of personal protection equipment and/or implementation of safe working procedures. Workers developing COPD after being exposed to and affected by fumes and/or dust at work may be entitled to claim for industrial injury compensation if such measures to protect their health were not put into place or adequately maintained.
Claiming for compensation
If you developed chronic bronchitis after being exposed to harmful dust or fumes at work, you may be eligible to claim industrial illness compensation. As COPD, like many other chronic work-induced conditions, often does not develop until after potentially years of exposure, compensation claims concerning this disease can be brought into action for up to three years after being diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.
How to claim compensation
Industrial injury claims can be initiated quickly, easily and without fear of expenses by contacting Accident Advice Helpline. This law firm, which has been helping workers to secure the work accident compensation they are entitled to for over 15 years, offers free advice via a free phone 24/7 advice line. Claims are always processed by specialised lawyers offering their services under conditional, no win no fee* contracts.
Date Published: March 5, 2014
Author: David Brown