I am considering claiming compensation for occupational asthma, but my condition has not prevented me from going to work as with other people in my department. Does this mean I cannot claim compensation for occupational asthma?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

There is a common misconception that a claim for compensation for occupational asthma can only be made if the condition is so severe that it makes work difficult or impossible. However, as with any claim for personal injury compensation, it is not only whether an injury prevents work or causes financial outlay, but also how it affects an individual’s quality of life. Even though you are able to work, you should not be made to suffer physically, mentally or financially due to an illness which has been contracted due to the negligence of an employer.

It should be possible for you to claim compensation for occupational asthma for the pain and suffering that has been caused by the condition and your claim for occupational asthma may also include recompense for how your lifestyle has changed as a result of your injury. Since occupational asthma can have important implications for future health, it is important that this is properly compensated for.

The cost of treatment for occupational asthma may be expensive and can involve drugs and medication which is not available through the Irish health service. It is your right to get the best treatment for occupational asthma and the cost of this should not come out of your own pocket if your illness has been caused by the negligence of your employer.

The fact that other people in your department have contracted asthma strongly suggests that you have been exposed to an airborne irritant in the workplace. Multiple cases of occupational asthma strongly indicate and that your employer has not have done enough to reduce the risk of illness to his or her staff.

An employer has a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and that workers are not placed at an excessive risk of injury. If fumes, dust, powders or chemicals are used at work, appropriate personal protective equipment should be used and safety measures should be in place. Rooms where potential causes of occupational asthma are located need to be well ventilated. When an employer fails in a duty of care to protect staff and asthma is developed as a direct result, compensation for occupational asthma can be claimed against a negligent employer’s liability insurance policy.

It is important that you make a record of your diagnosis of asthma in your employers Accident Book. You should also include the contact details of other employees who have been affected, although they should also make separate reports. This is a prerequisite for a claim for compensation for occupational asthma. You should also speak with a personal injury solicitor with experience of dealing with claims for compensation for occupational asthma for legal advice about recovering occupational asthma compensation and building the strongest possible claim.