Work-Related Illness Claims *
Industrial Disease Claims *
A work-related illness or industrial disease * is an injury or illness that is sustained as a result of an accident at work *. This is generally caused by an unsafe working environment or overexposure to harmful materials and chemicals in the workplace. A work-related illness * covers a wide range of illnesses as they can vary for each industry based on the work that is being carried out.
An industrial disease * is usually contracted as a result of unsafe conditions and work practices. If the correct regulations and procedures are not in place then the chances of an accident * occurring is increased.
The HSA ran a study over a 12 month period and concluded that 55,000 people in Ireland suffered from a work-related illness * over this specific 12 month period, which resulted in over 790,000 days of work lost. Also, HAS reports that most work-related illnesses fall into these categories:
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) (50%)
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 lowest in educational and other services.
Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD) (18%)
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.
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
- Co-operate 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.
Common Work-related Illnesses
- Cancer caused by exposure to harmful materials
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.
- Overexposure to chemicals
- Lack of training
- Inadequate protective equipment
- Inadequate rest breaks
Preventing Industrial Diseases and Illnesses
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 am employees 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.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE