Personal injury litigation is usually relatively straightforward. However, personal injury claims involving industrial diseases are not so straightforward.
To begin with, what exactly is an industrial disease? They can be complicated to understand – but are devastating if you are unfortunate to be affected by one.
Essentially, industrial diseases are picked up over a long period of time – in some cases over ten years can pass. Industrial diseases are the result of the workplace; for example, being exposed to hazardous chemicals or materials over time. Work Related Upper Limb Diseases (WRULD) – of which RSI is the most well known and the best example – can impact those who perform the same movement repeatedly, and therefore wear out the joints or muscles. A very good example is RSI and related: office workers working on computers can see wear and tear of the wrists and fingers due to the repetitive nature of typing at a computer. However, industry can also see WRULD’s – a good example being a factory assembly line or warehouse where the same movement is made over and over, therefore putting wear on the joints. Some specialist indictors with specialist machinery can also be classed as WRULD’s, or indeed fall into their own category, such as Vibration White Tip Finger. In some cases, some sight and hearing issues can also can be classed as industrial diseases if they were picked up over time at the workplace.
Overall, it can be seen that industrial diseases are very varied, and the list of what is classed as one is very long. To attempt to simplify things, one definition commonly used is “Industrial Diseases are injuries or sicknesses resulting from exposure over a period of time to an occupational hazard in the workplace.”
The exact nature of the ‘occupational hazard’ will vary according to both the type of work being carried out, and the workplace, but it could be a toxic or harmful substance or material, a harmful or potentially dangerous activity (such as the use of a vibrating tool of some type), or a harmful working environment, such as a construction site.
Employers are obliged to take reasonable precautions at all times in all workplaces. This would include PPE, training and supervision, adequate breaks to ensure joints are not over exerted, maintenance of specialist equipment, safety checks, and similar. Quite often, it is a due to negligence or failings in management that gives rise to working environment prone to industrial diseases.
Most personal injury claims have a time limit of three years from the accident to make a claim. For industrial diseases, given that they can develop over many years, that is not the case. However, similar to other accident at work compensation claims, it does have to be proved that the employer in question was negligent as regards their legal obligations and duty of care towards their staff. The employer must have failed in that duty, such as not provided adequate PPE or training. Alternatively, the employer might have failed to address failings in the workplace or in working practices that resulted in an employee developing an industrial disease over time.
Making a personal injury claim for any of the many industrial diseases possible is quite complicated, mostly due to the length of time usually involved. It is best to make such a claim with an expert by your direction assist and advise you every step of the way.
Our lawyers at CompensationClaims.co are just such experts in personal injury litigation – including industrial diseases. Contact us today to discuss making an industrial disease compensation claim.