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What are Workplace Exposure Limits?


Many employees in various industries are exposed to certain substances and chemicals which could be harmful to health. There are limits on the amount of substance a person can be exposed to before the substance may cause health difficulties and these are set out in a Workplace Exposure Limits document from the Health and Safety Executive. Around 500 substances have Workplace Exposure Limits which means that exposure to this substance must be limited to the amount specified in the regulations. Exposure can be via the airways (e.g. breathing in dust, particles or gas), via the skin, via injection into the skin or by swallowing. Workplace Exposure Limits are to be used in accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and all employees working with harmful substances should be trained in these regulations. Some illnesses caused by exposure to certain chemicals may not manifest until years later so it is important that employers provide the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid harming the health and safety of their workers and to abide by the Workplace Exposure Limits. If these guidelines are followed, the risk of illness is lowered.


How can I become ill from exposure?

Breathing in harmful chemicals and airborne particles can cause breathing difficulties and respiratory problems if the Workplace Exposure Limits guidelines are not followed. Skin exposure to harmful chemicals could result in serious burns, rashes and allergic reactions therefore PPE must be provided if this is a risk. Workers should also be trained in COSHH if working with chemicals and harmful substances. Workers should also be trained in COSHH if working with chemicals and harmful substances. If workers do not follow the training provided or fail to follow the WEL, they may become ill at their own risk. However, if you are not informed about the exposure limits, are not provided protective equipment or are exposed unnecessarily for long periods of time and become ill, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.


Making a workplace injury claim

Accident Advice Helpline assists victims of workplace injuries and accidents every day and we can also help you claim compensation for any illnesses sustained due to negligence. Where you have evidence that someone else was at fault for an injury due to chemical over-exposure, you can give us a call on our free 24-hour helpline to speak to one of our team of solicitors.