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What is Industrial Disease?

An industrial disease is an injury or sickness resulting from exposure to occupational hazards. You could contract any number of industrial diseases in the workplace and the following are some of the most common:

  • Asbestos
  • Cancer
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome / Vibration White Finger
  • Deafness and Tinnitus
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Lead Poisoning
  • Asthma

It is impossible to cover all the industrial diseases, especially in detail and we have sought to explain the two most common below. If you would to see a more comprehensive list of industrial diseases and further information on them then you should see the website of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Directgov. They will also be able to provide information on state benefits that you would be entitled to if you have suffered from an industrial disease.


Asbestos related illnesses are probably the most publicised and written about industrial diseases. Asbestos can lead to a number of industrial diseases including: mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening. Mesothelioma is probably the most talked about asbestos related disease. It is a type of cancer and can take three forms: Pleural Mesothelioma (inhaling asbestos fibres into the lungs), Peritoneal Mesothelioma (asbestos fibres swallowed down into the stomach) and Pericardial Mesothelioma (a tumour in the heart).

Clearly asbestos can be very serious which is why it is now prohibited from being used in the workplace without a licence. However, its use was rife up to 40 years ago and many have suffered because of it.

Deafness and Tinnitus

Deafness and tinnitus (noises in the ears such as ringing) caused by noise at work is more common than people think. Those who suffer from deafness or tinnitus at work do not realise the effects immediately, instead it happens gradually over time.

The Noise at Work Regulations 2005 imposes a duty on employers to make sure their employees hearing is not damaged whilst they are at work. It imposes action levels depending on what decibel level noises in the workplace reach. So if noises reach 80dB employers have to warn their employees and provide hearing protection, at 85dB hearing protection becomes mandatory and at finally, noises should never 87dB.


As mentioned above, if you have suffered from an industrial disease you could be entitled to receive state benefits. In addition, you could also be entitled to make a compensation claim against the employer. This is because employers have a duty of care towards their employees and any breach of that duty means that the employer has been negligent. For example, employers are responsible for making sure employees have the appropriate health and safety equipment at work, such as the hearing protection products described above. If these have not been provided and the employee suffers from an industrial disease then the employer has clearly been negligent.

If you approach us about taking on your industrial disease claim then we are likely to deal with your case on a no win no fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay your legal fees if you lose your case and in the event you win, our fees will be paid by your employer’s insurance company. Insurance which they are required to have in place by law.

If you would like to make a compensation claim against your employer then you should speak to us as soon as possible as you only have three years to make a claim. If you need to make a claim outside this time period then you will have to seek special permission of the court, although you would need a good reason for doing so.

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