The Dangers of Welding Fumes
It has been long known amongst welders that certain welding fumes can cause very serious illnesses like cancer and severe asthma. However, in many workplaces across the UK employees are still left to work in potentially harmful conditions.
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At the beginning of February the HSE brought to light new evidence showing that exposure to all welding fumes, including mild steel welding fumes, can lead to lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer.
The new evidence proves that even mild steel welding fumes are carcinogenic, meaning these fumes have the potential to cause cancer in humans.
On the back of this, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published new enforcement expectations which rule that employers are responsible for providing adequate respiratory equipment to their welding employees.
As a welder you now have more rights in regards to your health and safety at work, and if your employer still does not provide you with a safe workplace you can be compensated for your suffering as a result.
Since our initial update on this topic on the 14th of February we have accepted eight new cases of occupational asthma or lung cancer from clients working in the welding industry. We hope to help these clients, first and foremost, but also to help drive change in the industry.
If your employer does not provide you with sufficient protective equipment, they are liable for your development of breathing-related diseases like asthma and lung cancer.
The bottom line is – your employer’s failure to provide proper breathing equipment means that they can and should be held accountable, and we can help.
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Just because you work as a welder you should not have to accept a lower level of health. Choosing to be a welder does not mean you choose the high risks of asthma or even cancer, and it shouldn’t be considered normal to have to risk such serious illness as part of your profession.
It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you are fully protected from harmful fumes at work.
If they don’t, you don’t have to shrug it off and accept that it’s just ‘part of the job’.
Breathing problems and related diseases like asthma and lung cancer can have a devastating impact on your life.
Is it really worth the pain and suffering all for a job, when it can be prevented?
We don’t think so, and neither do the HSE.
Under the new regulations, absolutely no one should be made to weld without the appropriate and adequate PPE.
If you’re a welder and you think that you are suffering because of improper ventilation equipment at work, you must do something about it.
Health and safety rules are there to protect you and if they aren’t being followed, your employer is putting you and your workmates in serious danger.
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What you can do
If you’re suffering from breathing problems, we urge you to visit your doctor first of all.
The chances are, if you work around welding fumes all day long, the breathing problems you experience may stem from that.
If this is the case, and you haven’t been provided with proper protective equipment, we can help you.
You may have to take time off work to recover, of if your illness is more serious it may cause you to stop work completely.
That’s where filing a claim against your employer can help you. We can help you receive compensation not only for your suffering, but for financial losses such as taking time off or leaving work altogether.
Additionally, it’s important to note that successful claims for compensation will highlight which employers are coming short when it comes to providing a safe workplace to their employees. Such claims force employers to improve their health and safety processes in order to prevent the same thing to happen to your current colleagues and those who come after you.
Think it’s Too Late? Think Again
We understand that some of you may feel like it’s too late to make a claim against your employer.
This might be because you no longer work for them, or because you have been working in the welding industry for such a long time that it no longer matters.
We urge you not to feel like this – your health is important no matter how long you have been working around welding fumes for.
Even if you no longer work for a welding company, if you have received an asthma or lung cancer diagnosis in the past two and a half years, you may be eligible to file a claim with us.
Even if you had asthma before working in welding, if you can prove that it was worsened by your job due to your employer’s negligence we can help you.
A Recent Case
Our industrial disease team recently successfully closed a case in which our client was employed as a welder fabricator.
His workplace didn’t contain an adequate ventilation or sufficient air extraction system to remove welding fumes.
He was therefore exposed to hazardous levels of fumes, which aggravated his pre-existing asthma symptoms and left him with painful breathing troubles.
This client’s case was strong because it was evident that had his workplace being properly ventilated, his asthma wouldn’t have been worsened and he wouldn’t have suffered to such a drastic extent.
His employer knew that because of this, they had no leg to stand on, and so offered £4,000 in damages without putting up a fight.
Cases like this are not overly-complicated, but are extremely important in the fight to keep welders safe at work.
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What Happens if I’ve Been Exposed to Welding Fumes for Years?
If you’ve been working in the welding industry for years then you might be worrying.
If you’ve been lucky, your employers will have taken care to make sure you worked with the correct equipment in place.
The chances are, if you’ve been exposed to welding fumes without the right PPE for a long period of time then your breathing ability may have been compromised. If you are worrying, you should first pay your GP a visit, who will be able to assess you and guide you further.
Unfortunately, there’s no turning back the clock, but there is still time to make amends. Our industrial disease team have a wealth of experience and can help you get the justice and compensation you need and deserve.
Who Can I Claim Against if I’ve Worked for Multiple Companies?
Over the course of your career you may have worked for a range of different companies, which may cause you to feel like you can’t make a claim, however this is not always the case. They may have all contributed towards your breathing difficulties, and in some cases they can all be held accountable.
Whether you can claim against them all will depend on a range of variables, including, but not limited to:
- How severe your illness is
- When you were diagnosed
- What the effects have been
Everyone’s case is different, so in order to fully understand whether you can claim and what the process would be, you will need the help of a specialist industrial disease solicitor.
Luckily, we’re here to help you.
Our team understands how much illnesses like asthma and lung cancer can damage your and your family’s life, and we want to do the best we can to help you move forward.
Why Choose AWH Solicitors
We value honesty and transparency and believe above all that legal services should be fairly priced, so they can be available to anyone.
Our solicitors are highly experienced and have an abundance of experience in their field of law, ensuring you the best chance at a successful outcome of your case or claim.
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How to get StartedTo get your case started with AWH Solicitors you can simply pick up the phone or request a call back from our friendly solicitors at a time that suits you.
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