Occupational Injury and Work-Related Illness Claims*

Occupation injury and work-related illness claims may be sought by an employee for injuries or industrial disease sustained during the course of their job. These types of work injuries can be sustained in numerous ways.

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How Do Occupational Injuries and Work-Related Illness Occur?

Occupational injuries or Work-Related Illness sustained during the course of a person’s job can manifest in a number of different ways. They can be heavily dependent on the job that the person carries out. This is generally caused by an unsafe working environment and practices or overexposure to harmful materials and chemicals in the workplace.

These types of claims arise due to a failure of an employer to implement and sustain a safe working environment, provide the adequate protection needed for an employee to do their job safely or failure to adhere to health and safety regulations, an employee may be entitled to pursue a claim.

Types of Occupational Injuries* and Work-Related Illness

A work-related illness or an occupational injury covers a wide range of illnesses as they can vary for each industry based on the work that is being carried out. Most of them fall into these categories:

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

These kinds of injuries affect different parts of the body used for body movement, examples of which being, muscles, ligaments, tendons and the skeleton. The risk of MSD is higher in sectors such as construction, agriculture and health services. It has been reported as the lowest in educational and other services.

Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD)

Their definition of stress is a person’s reaction to times where they are presented with work that is outside of their knowledge and/or capabilities which challenges their ability to cope. Anxiety and Depression, on the other hand, have been defined as mental disorders. It has been reported that the sectors with the highest risk of SAD illnesses are workers in the educational, health, public admin, transport sectors.

Chemical Related Injuries

Almost all employment situations can expose an employee to dangerous chemicals. More often than not chemical-related injuries are sustained by people who work in factories or locations where dangerous chemicals are used, mined or manufactured. However, office workers can also be exposed to dangerous chemicals like cleaning products and other toxic chemicals if the office is not ventilated properly.

For those who work on a daily basis with dangerous chemicals, protective work gear should be provided by their employer. Some dangerous chemicals that can cause injury to an employee at work are:

  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Pesticides
  • Paint
  • Solvents
  • Acids

Exposure to these and other toxic chemicals can cause injury to the employee in different ways. Whether it be from skin contact, breathing in fumes or accidentally swallowing the chemicals. Common types of injuries sustained are, rashes, burns, throat and lung injuries.

Biological Related Injuries

Biological agents to which employees have been exposed to in the workplace include bacteria, fungi (yeast and moulds) and parasites. While some of these agents are harmless some may cause serious injury to the employee.

Exposure to such biological agents can be found in places such as laboratories or research facilities where a person is working directly with the agent and is unintentionally exposed. Other occupations that may be exposed are hospital workers who are exposed to blood-borne viruses or hospitality workers, refuse collectors, cleaners who are injured by needles (also known as needlestick injuries) and are exposed to blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV. Farm employees who work with animal carcasses may also be exposed to animal disease which can also affect humans if the correct protective gear is not provided.

Common Injuries and Illnesses

Repetitive Strain Injuries*

Pain felt in muscles, tendons and nerves and are caused by repetitive movement and overuse. This type of injury usually affects the forearms, elbows, wrists, hand, neck, ankles and shoulders of the employee – but is not limited to this list. The symptoms a person experiences can range from pains and aches, stiffness, chronic pain, throbbing, weakness and/or cramps. These symptoms can appear faint at first but if left untreated can eventually become constant and prevent you from carrying out your work.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Numbness, tingling, weakness caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This can be brought on by work-related movement, repetitive flexing and extending of the wrist coupled with a strong grip may bring on carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cancer caused by exposure to harmful materials

People who work in certain industries who are exposed to hazardous substances are more at risk of developing cancer. This can be caused by a number of different chemicals such as;

  • Asbestos
  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Dioxins
  • Silica

Overexposure to these chemicals can result in an illness developing over time. People may be unaware of their symptoms.

Industrial Deafness

This is a hearing impairment that is caused by exposure to excessive noise in the workplace. Symptoms include missing parts of conversations and a constant ringing in your ears which is known as tinnitus.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

This is an injury caused by vibration damages that can occur in the hands and arms. This is associated with people who work with vibrating tools or machinery.


This is a skin disorder that is caused by contact with certain harmful substances while at work. This is one of the most common industrial diseases in Ireland and is sustained by skin contact with harmful materials. Dermatitis can have long-term implications for the injured person and may leave them unable to carry out certain tasks.

What are the Causes?

  • Inadequately trained staff or lack of training – for example, repetitive strain for a warehouse worker who was not given manual handling training
  • Poorly maintained equipment that leads to accident injury to the employee, accidental exposure to chemical or biological agents leading to an illness or injury
  • Inadequate protective equipment
  • Inadequate rest breaks
  • Bad ventilated work areas – fumes from toxic paint in a poorly ventilated office or work environment
  • Overexposure to chemicals
  • Engaging generally in dangerous practices and procedures in work

Who is Liable?


All employers have a duty of care to their staff to ensure that their health and safety is guaranteed throughout the course of their work. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, all employers have certain duties to make sure that employees are looked after and work in a safe environment. These duties include;

  • Providing employees with the correct training and protective equipment
  • Ensuring that all equipment and machinery is working correctly
  • Providing a safe working environment for staff

A breach in health and safety regulations or duty of care can lead to injury and illness in the workplace. If an illness was caused as a result of employer negligence then they will be found liable.


The Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005 also sets out certain duties that an employee has.

  • Attend all training provided by an employer
  • Cooperate with the employer in relation to regulations in place
  • Report problems they have noticed to their employer

It is not just employers that have a duty of care. Employees should also ensure that they show a duty of care to both their employer and co-workers. If a staff member is acting in a negligent manner which led to an injury or illness then they will be found liable and there will be certain consequences for their actions.


There are a number of issues that need to be looked at in order to reduce the risk of a work-related illness.


It is important that all employees are provided with the correct training before they can carry out a job. If they know the correct procedures and steps to follow if something goes wrong then the risk of an illness developing is reduced. It is an employee’s responsibility to attend any training that is provided to them.

Personal Protective Equipment

Protective equipment is essential for those who work around hazardous materials. Injuries are more likely to occur if the correct equipment is not used. This protective equipment should be replaced on a regular basis to ensure that health and safety regulations are followed.

What Are the Effects of an Injury or Illness?

An injury at work or work-related illness can impact a person’s life. This can be down to how reliant people are on their monthly income. If you have had a workplace injury you may need to take considerable time off work or in some cases, would have to leave work altogether, leaving you unable to earn money to support your family and yourself.

There are legal remedies in place that can help you recoup any losses you may have suffered as a result of an injury caused at work. These legal remedies can help you stabilise yourself financially so that you can focus solely on your recovery.

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Call us today on +353 1 649 9900 or contact us online.

How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a personal injury solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare the information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your injury claim it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • If any emergency services attended the scene and their details
    • Details of your injuries
    • Hospitals/Doctors attended with your injury
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
    • Details of any witnesses
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the injury claim process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    The most important document needed to prove your injuries is your medical report. The reason a solicitor will ask for your doctor’s details or if you have attended the hospital is so they can obtain all the medical reports required to pursue the case for you.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your injury claim will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage, you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move to the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the person at fault reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus on your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with an injury claim you may be entitled to claim compensation for the injury and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following an accident.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the injury (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages. 

Material Damages

Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in a road traffic accident, the material damage would be the damage to your car.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors LLP

We draw on more than 35 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

Contact Us

Our friendly and experienced team are waiting to answer your call. Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

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