The term industrial disease covers a wide range of conditions caused by exposure to unsafe conditions or hazards at work. Some of the most common examples include stress, lung disease, hearing loss, repetitive strain injuries and asbestos-related diseases.
Employers have a duty of care to take adequate health and safety measures to keep you safe from harm at work. If you have developed a long-term illness due to your job, you might be eligible to make an industrial disease claim. You could receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your illness, how it has affected your daily life and the related financial losses.
To determine if you have a valid industrial claim, use our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 today to talk to a legal adviser. They will assess the details of your case and let you know whether you have a fair chance of success. The industrial disease solicitors we work with will also be able to answer any questions you may have about the claims process.
What is an industrial disease?
An industrial or occupational disease is a long-term injury or illness caused by unsafe working conditions, such as:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, dust, fumes, gases, or biological agents like asbestos, silica dust or pesticides;
- Inadequate ventilation systems which may lead to the accumulation of harmful substances in the air;
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise levels without proper hearing protection;
- Jobs that involve repetitive movements, heavy lifting, or awkward postures;
- Poor ergonomic conditions, uncomfortable seating or incorrect workstation setup;
- Continuous exposure to vibrating tools or equipment which affects the blood vessels, nerves, and muscles of the hands and arms;
- Being exposed to excessive heat or cold without proper protection;
- Radiation exposure.
According to statistics published by the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE), 1.8 million UK workers suffered from work-related ill health in 2021/22. Of these, 51% were affected by stress, anxiety and depression, 27% by musculoskeletal disorders, and the remaining 22% suffered from other diseases such as COPD, mesothelioma or dermatitis. The jobs most at risk of industrial disease include:
- Healthcare workers
- Factory workers
- Construction and demolition workers
- Employees that use a computer throughout the day
- Agricultural and farm workers
- Military staff
- Welders and metalworkers
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a health condition due to your workplace conditions, you might be eligible to make an industrial disease compensation claim.
Can I make an industrial disease compensation claim?
If you believe you have developed a work-related illness or disease due to your employer’s negligence, talk to an experienced legal adviser by calling free on 0800 678 1410 or requesting a call back. They will be able to let you know whether you may be entitled to industrial disease compensation and answer any questions you may have.
As a general rule, you should have a valid claim if:
- You have been diagnosed with an industrial disease such as asbestosis or dermatitis within the last three years;
- A medical expert has confirmed that this was due to exposure to hazardous conditions or substances at work;
- Your employer was aware or should have been aware of the unsafe working conditions;
- They have failed to take all reasonable measures dictated by legislation to protect you from the risk of developing an industrial disease.
If your solicitor believes you have a valid industrial disease claim, they will help you claim by gathering the necessary evidence to support your case. The proof you could use to secure compensation includes:
- Medical evidence confirming your diagnosis and the cause of your condition
- An expert assessment of the long-term effects of your condition and your future needs
- Photos and videos of your working environment showing any hazards and dangers you were exposed to
- Statements from colleagues or supervisors about your working conditions if your employer denies liability
- Your written account of how your illness affected your personal and daily life
- Investigation reports and correspondence with your employer if you have raised concerns about your workplace conditions in the past
- Details on your working history, such as your work schedule and job duties
- Evidence of financial losses and expenses caused by the illness, such as receipts, invoices, wage slips or copies of bank statements
Common types of industrial disease claims
The specialist industrial disease solicitors we work with have helped many individuals secure compensation for the pain and suffering caused by their working conditions. The most common types of illnesses seen in an industrial disease claim include:
- Repetitive strain injuries, such as tendonitis, rotator cuff syndrome or bursitis
- Hand-arm vibration conditions like Vibration White Finger or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Industrial deafness or noise-induced hearing loss as a result of being exposed to a noisy environment
- Dermatitis and other painful skin conditions caused by exposure to dangerous substances
- Mesothelioma, asbestosis and other conditions that have developed due to exposure to asbestos fibres
- Respiratory diseases, including silicosis, lung cancer and occupational asthma
- Occupational cancers, such as bladder, lung, nasal and skin cancer triggered by carcinogenic chemicals and hazardous dusts
- Osteoarthritis of the hip and knee
- Cataracts, caused by frequent exposure to radiation
- Work-related stress and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
Employers must take all reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of employees at work. That includes assessing and managing risks, maintaining a safe working environment, and providing adequate training and safety equipment. If you were affected by any illness due to an employer’s breach of duty, you might be eligible to make an industrial disease claim for compensation.
Employer duty of care to prevent industrial illnesses
Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from the risk of developing an industrial disease. Several UK legislations cover this duty of care, including:
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Manual Handling Regulations 1992
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
Under these laws, employers should comply with the following steps to keep employees safe from harm and prevent an industrial disease claim against them:
- Conduct regular and thorough risk assessments to identify potential risks associated with industrial diseases in the workplace;
- Take adequate measures to reduce or eliminate the identified risks;
- Provide proper safety equipment, such as masks, ear protectors and anti-vibration gloves, at no cost;
- Make sure employees have sufficient training on how to do their job safely;
- Ensure all staff are provided with adequate health and safety training and health surveillance for significant risks;
- Avoid hazardous manual handling procedures as far as possible and limit exposure to toxic substances;
- Change the workspace to reduce bending, twisting and carrying distances;
- When possible, use low-vibration tools;
- Provide adequate breaks and rotate roles so staff are not exposed to risks for prolonged periods.
Failure to comply with any of these regulations would potentially make your employer liable in an industrial injury claim. However, many individuals worry that claiming compensation might cost them their job or lead to a conflict with their employers. However, unfair dismissal laws in the UK make this illegal and would allow you to take further legal action if you are sacked or disciplined due to making a claim against your employer.
How much compensation can I claim for an industrial illness?
The amount of compensation you can claim for your injury or disease
The industrial disease compensation award you might be entitled to will depend on several factors, such as the type and severity of your condition and its long-term effects on your life. Industrial disease lawyers will consider two types of damages when calculating the compensation for industrial diseases in personal injury claims:
General damages refer to non-monetary, subjective losses suffered due to the injury and compensate for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and psychological trauma
- Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of activities
- Disability or impairment caused by the disease
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Special damages are specific financial losses incurred as a result of the industrial disease. They are calculated based on actual financial evidence and documentation provided by you and may include the following:
- Medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, hospitalisation, medication, and therapy costs
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Loss of past and future income from being unable to work
- Travel expenses for medical appointments and treatments
- Costs of necessary modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your condition
- Caregiver expenses if you require assistance with daily activities
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the disease, such as specialised equipment
Below are some examples of compensation awards you could receive for general damages according to the Judicial College guidelines:
- £13,360 to £25,220 for severe cases of Vibration White Finger with permanent symptoms that affect work and daily activities
- £6,910 to £11,820 for slight tinnitus and deafness
- £27,890 to £42,730 for total noise-induced loss of hearing in one ear
- £65,710 to £118,150 for mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos in the workplace
Your solicitor will be able to give you a more detailed account of your industrial disease compensation prospects after a free consultation over the phone. You can also use our online compensation calculator to see examples of the potential amount of compensation you could receive for other common industrial injuries and illnesses.
Time limits to make an industrial disease claim
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you must start a personal injury claim within three years of an injury occurring. Industrial diseases, however, usually develop over time due to manual handling or continuous exposure to workplace hazards such as asbestos.
In this case, the three-year time limit to claim injury compensation will be counted from the date your illness was first diagnosed. This is known as the date of knowledge, which could even be many years after you left the job that caused your problem. This is particularly true for asbestos claims such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, which can take years to develop and show symptoms.
There are some exceptions to the three-year time limit to start an industrial disease compensation claim, such as:
- There is no claim limitation date if the claimant lacks the mental ability to conduct legal proceedings. A litigation friend could claim compensation at any time for someone who suffers from a mental health illness, an intellectual disability or another incapacitating condition.
- If you have developed an industrial illness while working abroad for a foreign company, the time limit to start legal proceedings may depend on the laws in that country. You could have less than three years to claim in this case, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
- If a loved one passed away due to an occupational disease, you could claim compensation for their wrongful death within three years after they died.
Starting an industrial disease claim as soon as possible is always a good idea. That will help your personal injury solicitor with the process of gathering evidence and building a strong case and ensure you do not miss any critical deadlines.
No Win Ne Fee industrial disease solicitors
If you’ve suffered an industrial disease or illness and want to find out if you may be able to make a claim for compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. The industrial disease solicitors we work with will offer you a no win no fee service, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). That means you will not have to pay any upfront fees for legal representation, and you get further benefits, such as:
- You have access to justice regardless of your financial situation;
- Your solicitor takes on the risk and financial burden associated with litigation;
- You only pay a success fee to your personal injury lawyer if your claim is successful;
- As their payment is contingent upon a successful outcome, your solicitor will do their best to win your case;
- They will help you collate evidence to support your industrial claim;
- Your solicitor will handle all communication on your behalf and try to negotiate the highest compensation possible;
- If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay them a single penny.
The success fee is a percentage of up to 25% of your settlement for general damages and past economic losses. You will agree to it from the beginning, so there will be no hidden or unexpected charges. Furthermore, no win no fee agreements include an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy that covers your legal costs in case of an unsuccessful outcome, including:
- The defendant’s legal fees and other expenses
- Costs of printing and copying
- Court and counsel fees
- Paralegal and other staff time
- The cost of medical reports and expert witnesses
To find out if you are able to make an industrial disease claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 678 1410 today for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, you can fill in our online claim form to receive a call back and discuss your case and legal options.