Many work injuries incurred in laboratory accidents are the result of employees breathing in toxic fumes. Health and safety regulations state that, according to the law regulating the use of substances considered to be hazardous to the health of employees (the COSHH law), employers must ensure such accidents are prevented by providing necessary safety equipment. Such equipment may include fume cabinets, local exhaust ventilation and/ or personal protective equipment (breathing equipment/ masks). Equipment must be maintained in good working order and employees have to be trained in its correct use.
Work accidents involving fumes
When workers are exposed to harmful fumes, there are several ways in which these fumes can affect their health. Depending on the substances causing the fumes, they may affect the lining of the nose, mouth or throat; they may damage the lungs or, by reaching the injured individual’s system via the lungs, damage other parts of the body, such as the liver, for example. The severity of such injuries depends on the substances involved, their concentration (how much of the fumes was breathed in) and their temperature, as hot fumes tend to inflict damage more rapidly than cool fumes, for example. How quickly first aid/ medical attention is provided can also make a difference in how seriously a person is ultimately injured in such workplace accidents.
Your right to industrial injury compensation
Being injured by inhalation of toxic fumes may entitle you to work injury compensation. To make a claim, it is necessary to act quickly, as there is a time limit of three years following the injury, unless you were a minor at the time of the laboratory accident, in which case this limit may be extended up to your 18th birthday. The accident leading to your injury must also be the responsibility of another person, like, for instance, your employer (if protective equipment and/ or relevant training were not provided or not maintained properly) or a colleague (careless handling of substances; improper use of provided equipment in spite of proper training).
Claiming laboratory accident compensation
You can initiate a claim for compensation by calling one of Accident Advice Helpline’s advisers via their freephone number on 0800 689 0500. All calls are confidential, initial advice is free, and all claims are dealt with by highly experienced legal professionals working on conditional fee agreements. In most cases, the entire claim process is dealt with over the phone, and more often than not, claimants do not have to attend court proceedings before seeing their claim settled.
Date Published: January 2, 2014
Author: David Brown