Occupational asthma can be caused by accidents at work or by prolonged exposure to fumes, dusts, gases or vapours.
Trades at risk
Jobs and trades most at risk include:
- Vehicle spray painters
- Healthcare workers
- Laboratory animal workers
- Agricultural workers
- Engineering workers
Vehicle spray painters
Affecting workers in vehicle repair and motor or semi-trailer manufacture, spraying isocyanate paints (typically in 2K, or 2-pack paints) is the top cause of occupational asthma. Isocyanate paint can also cause dermatitis.
Flour dust and certain enzymes with amylase and/or similar additives are second in the line-up of common causes for his occupational illness. Also causing dermatitis, these substances affect workers in flour mills, bakeries and kitchens.
Fumes produced when using solder flux based on rosin are also among the top causes of this work-related disease. They affect workers in assembly and electronics industries.
Natural rubber latex is used in medical gloves, as well as a variety of devices. Proteins contained within this latex can cause dermatitis and asthma, as well as potentially serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Surgical smoke produced during diathermy (surgical technique using heat generated by electric currents) contains toxic gases and particles that can trigger respiratory problems.
Laboratory animal workers
Workers in industries handling insects and animals are exposed to the risk of developing work induced respiratory issues due to the proteins (termed ‘animal aeroallergens’) contained within animal dander, feathers and fur; saliva and dried urine dusts.
Agricultural dust is a complex mix of inorganic and organic materials derived from bacteria, endotoxins and fungal spores; animal dander, faeces and mites; soil, plant dust and chemicals; feed, feed components and bedding, etc. This dust causes the vast majority of respiratory disease cases among agriculture workers.
The main cause of occupational asthma in engineering workers is inhalation of the mist or vapours generated when using metalworking fluids (which can also cause dermatitis) during machining and shaping operations.
In all of these occupations, the risk can be significantly reduced by the provision of personal protective gear; safe working procedures and suitable air filtering systems. Workers’ health must also be screened regularly.
If you develop a work-related illness due to continued exposure or following a work accident, you may be able to claim for industrial injury compensation. With over 10 years’ experience, Accident Advice Helpline is your best call for successful claiming work injury compensation. So give us a call today on 0800 689 0500 to speak to one of our advisers.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice