Depending on your occupation, the unsafe, or hazardous work site materials you could potentially be exposed to can consist of a wide range of different items, including, but not limited to:
- Varying chemicals or products containing chemicals
- Dusts or fumes; gases, mists or vapours
- Nano technology
- Germs, such as legionnaire’s disease, leptospirosis or other germs worked within laboratories, and other biological agents
On construction sites, the most dangerous materials likely to be encountered include gas and fuels, such as those used for welding equipment, for example, and dusts, in particular asbestos.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos or accidents at work leading to sudden exposure to asbestos in large quantities can cause workers to develop industrial illnesses including:
- Mesothelioma – This almost always fatal cancer affects the lining of the sufferer’s lungs (pleura) and lower digestive tract (peritoneum).
- Asbestos-related lung cancer – This type of cancer has the same appearance and effects as cancer caused by smoking.
- Asbestosis – This condition, a scarring of the lung, is normally developed after years of exposure to large doses of asbestos and may cause progressively worsening shortness of breath. In severe cases, asbestosis can be fatal.
- Pleural thickening – Typically occurring after heavy exposure to asbestos, this condition causes the pleura to thicken and swell. If the condition is allowed to get worse, the lung may be squeezed, causing chest discomfort and shortness of breath.
Health and safety laws require employers to prevent workplace accidents and minimise workers’ risk of exposure to hazardous substances like asbestos. Preventing asbestos-related illnesses includes provision of personal protective equipment, such as breathing masks or apparatus, for example, and training workers in safe working procedures.
Should a worker develop an industrial disease because such protective equipment and/or training were not provided, he or she could be entitled to work injury compensation. This also applies to other injuries at work caused by negligence; lack of or poorly maintained equipment or mistakes made by other employees.
When to claim
Claims for industrial injury compensation following sudden or prolonged exposure to harmful substances, or other construction site accidents, must be initiated within three years of the date of the accident or, in case of work-related ill health, within three years of the condition being diagnosed.
How to claim
Our advisors at Accident Advice Helpline man a completely confidential, no-obligation Freephone service, and can help you find out whether or not you are entitled to claim, answer any questions concerning claiming for construction accident compensation, and assign a member of our legal team to your case. Give them a call today on 0800 689 0500 for more information.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice