I have recently been diagnosed with colophony induced asthma and am unsure if I qualify to make colophony asthma compensation claims against my employer.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Colophony asthma compensation claims are most frequently made by workers in the electronics industry who regularly work with solder flux; a resin used in the manufacture of electrical components and circuit boards. Colophony resin gives off fumes which are known to cause respiratory problems – in particular causing asthma attacks – and your employer should have provided you with personal protective equipment to avoid the inhalation of the hazardous fumes.

Colophony asthma is classed as an occupational asthma and the condition may develop over a period of weeks or months after an initial exposure to colophony fumes. Colophony asthma compensation claims should be made within two years of when asthma has been induced by colophony fumes, or when an existing respiratory condition has deteriorated as a result of breathing in the fumes from this hazardous substance.

You will need medical evidence of colophony induced asthma to support a claim for colophony asthma compensation but – in your case – as you have already been diagnosed as having this condition and your condition has been linked to colophony exposure, a claim for colophony asthma compensation should have a strong likelihood of being successful – provided it can be established that your employer´s negligence resulted in you developing the condition.

Even with a diagnosis of this work related illness, it must still be proven in colophony asthma compensation claims that the condition was developed as a result of your employer’s negligence. An employer has a duty of care to you as an employee to provide you with a safe environment in which to work and should have conducted a risk assessment prior to allocating you a task working with solder flux to ensure he or she was not placing you in risk of danger
If your employer has failed to reduce the risk of injury, has failed to provide personal protection equipment or has not ensured that the equipment provided is functional, it is highly likely that he will be liable for damages in any claim for colophony asthma compensation which results.

How much compensation for colophony asthma you will be entitled to will be assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland once your employer has given them his or her consent for an assessment to be conducted. It is in your best interests to engage the services of a workplace injury solicitor when making a claim for colophony asthma compensation to ensure that you application includes every aspect of your injury and in case your employer denies his liability for your injury, in which case colophony asthma compensation claims will have to be litigated in court or resolved by negotiation with your employer´s insurers.