Health and Safety Executive Cracks Down on Industrial Diseases Caused by Dust

Starting today (4th October), Health and Safety Executive inspectors across Great Britain will be targeting construction firms to check that their health standards are up to scratch. The focus will be on respiratory risks and occupational lung diseases. This will hopefully crack down on industrial diseases caused by dust.

The inspection initiative will be a month-long effort. It will look at the control measures businesses have in place to protect their workers from construction dust including silica, asbestos and wood dust. This is part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry. 

While the primary focus will be on health during this programme of inspections, if an inspector identifies any other areas of concern, including immediate safety risks, they will take the necessary action to deal with them.  

Inspectors will be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. If necessary, they will also use enforcement to make sure people are protected. 

More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost. 

HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Sarah Jardine, said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents. 

“Our inspection initiatives ensure that inspectors are able to speak to duty holders and visit sites to look at the kind of action businesses in the construction industry are taking right now to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs. These are mature health challenges that the industry ought to be managing effectively.”

industrial diseases caused by dust

Industrial Diseases Caused by Dust

There are several industrial diseases caused by dust that we deal with here at The Compensation Experts. These include Asbestosis, Asbestos-Induced Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, and Occupational Asthma.

Asbestosis and Asbestos-Induced Lung Cancer

Asbestosis is a disease where the lung tissue hardens. Prolonged and heavy exposure to asbestos dust can cause the disease. Asbestosis is a slowly progressive disease; it usually takes between 15 and 30 years to develop, after initial exposure to asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos also has a strong link with lung cancer.

Mesothelioma

Usually linked to exposure to asbestos fibres, mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs. There are more than 2,600 diagnoses each year in the UK; most cases occur in people aged 60 to 80, and it affects men more commonly than women.

Unfortunately, it’s rarely possible to cure mesothelioma, although treatment can help control the symptoms.

Occupational Asthma

Asthma is more than just a condition that develops in childhood. Asthma UK estimates up to 15% of the new diagnosis of asthma in adults is occupational asthma. Susceptible employees include wood dust workers (bakers and cabinet makers), animal and agriculture workers, hairdressers, and people who work with metals or solder flux.

How We Can Help with Industrial Diseases Caused by Dust

Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with industrial disease claims. This includes industrial diseases caused by dust. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable agents.

Company Fined after Several Workers Contracted Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

According to recent reports, a construction company in Leeds have been fined after a number of workers were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The company reported seven cases of HAVS in an 18-month period. All the workers had been carrying out ground works involving vibrating tools. Many of them had been working in the industry for over 20 years.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in 2016 the company contracted a new occupational health provider to replace their existing one. The diagnosis of the workers’ conditions resulted from these changes. Prior to the new company taking over the contract, there was no suitable health surveillance in place to identify hand arm vibration syndrome.

Speaking after the hearing, an HSE inspector said: “The company should have undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the level of vibration employees were exposed to throughout their working day and then put in place appropriate control measures. Furthermore, the company should have put in place suitable health surveillance to identify HAVS in their workforce”

hand arm vibration syndrome

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, or HAVS, is a medical term that describes injuries which using vibrating machinery causes. Tools like pneumatic drills, sanders and needle guns could cause HAVS – and if you use or have used vibrating tools or machinery in the workplace, you could be at risk from HAVS.

What causes HAVS?

HAVS is usually developed because of prolonged exposure to intense vibration tools over a long period of time. For instance, the following vibrating power tools present a significant amount of risk for developing HAVS:

  • Surface power tools, such as concrete breakers, sanders, grinders, and disc cutters
  • Saws and drills such as chainsaws, or hammer/pneumatic drills
  • Needle guns
  • Any grass maintenance tools, such as power mowers, strimmers or hedge trimmers
  • Any other rotary equipment and tools at work

HAVS Symptoms

One of the issues with HAVs is that it can take a long time to develop, which means it’s easy for symptoms to go unnoticed. But hand arm vibration syndrome can be a debilitating and distressing condition. There’s a wide range of HAVS symptoms, which can range from very minor to quite serious – but they can be easy to miss initially.

  • Whitening in the fingers
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Coldness
  • General weakness in affected areas
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold
  • A loss of manual dexterity

Some of these symptoms are serious enough that they can be cause for their own compensation claims.

HAVS can affect how people can use their hands and arms, limiting mobility for hours at a time. HAVS can also affect your ability to work, particularly because it affects key parts of the body like joints and blood vessels.

How We Can Help with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Here at The Compensation Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with personal injury claims. This includes industrial disease claims and hand arm vibration syndrome. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

What are the Different Asbestos-Related Illnesses You Can Claim For?

Asbestos was a substance that was widely used in construction until it was banned in the 1980s. We know now that exposure to asbestos is harmful and affects lung function. Because Asbestos was so widely used, there are several asbestos-related illnesses you can claim for, but many people do not know which ones.

Asbestos-Related Illnesses You Can Claim For

Illnesses that are related to asbestos exposure that you can make a claim for include Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, Pleural Thickening, and Asbestos-induced lung cancer.

Asbestos illness

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a disease where the lung tissue hardens. It is associated with prolonged and heavy exposure to asbestos dust.

Symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent cough
  • dry crackling noise in your lungs
  • chest pain
  • lack of or difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite and weight loss.

Asbestosis is also a slowly progressive disease. It usually takes between 15 and 30 years to develop, after initial exposure to asbestos. It can cause long term scarring and inflammation in the lungs. This can also result in lung cancer and heart disease.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive type of cancer. Little or intermittent exposure to asbestos fibres often causes it. Similarly to asbestosis, symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite.

The cause of virtually all cases of Mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Once a person receives a diagnosis of Mesothelioma, it is almost always incurable.

Pleural Thickening

Pleural thickening, sometimes known as Diffuse Pleural Thickening or DPT, happens when exposure to harmful asbestos fibres causes scarring and calcification of the lining of the lungs. The main symptoms of pleural thickening are shortness of breath and chest pain.

Pleural thickening can cause a victim to have chest pain or difficulty breathing. This is because the lungs cannot expand and contract as nature intended. Sadly, there is no cure.

Claiming for Asbestos-related Illnesses

All employers, past and present, owe their staff a duty of care to ensure their working environment is safe and staff are not at risk. You may, therefore, be able to claim for an asbestos-related illness if you believe your employer failed in their duty of care. For example, if they did not provide you with the correct safety equipment. Another example is if they did not tell you the dangers associated with working with asbestos.

Asbestos-related illnesses take decades to form and can often have a life-changing effect on all involved. There are also cases where, sadly, a person did not live for very long after they were diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. In this case, a spouse or next of kin may have to make a claim on their behalf.

The law surrounding asbestos illness claims is complex. Therefore, you should get solicitors that specialise in these types of claims.

How We Can Help

Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with industrial disease claims. This includes Asbestos-related illnesses. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Claiming for Occupational Asthma

Asthma is a common condition that affects many people. But if you have asthma that has developed because of your job, then it can be even more inconvenient. Claiming for occupational asthma can help you to deal with your condition.

Asthma UK estimate that 9-15% of all cases of adult asthma are occupational asthma. If you develop new asthma symptoms at work, or your childhood asthma comes back, you could have occupational asthma.

You may be at your workplace for a while before you notice symptoms. This is because it takes a while for your immune system to become sensitive to workplace triggers. But once you’ve become sensitive to a substance at work, it can trigger asthma symptoms the next time you encounter it – even if it’s just in small amounts.

claiming for occupational asthma

Occupational Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that makes it difficult to breathe. The muscles around the airways constrict and tighten, preventing oxygen reaching the lungs. In turn, that affects oxygen dispersal through the rest of the body. More than feeling short of breath, a serious asthma attack can make a victim feel as if they are suffocating. Furthermore, such a feeling can be, in extreme instances, fatal. Occupational asthma is when the condition results from or faces aggravation from poor working conditions.

Dust, pollen, and chemical fumes are all common workplace irritants that can trigger asthma. Over time, inflammation of the bronchial tubes occurs, permanently damaging the lungs in some cases.

By law, employers have an obligation to identify potential asthma risks in the workplace. In summary, employers must take relevant steps to protect their employees from harm. For instance, providing things like effective ventilation and adequate safety equipment.

Industries Where Occupational Asthma is Common

Occupational asthma can happen in any environment that has irritants that can cause asthma. For example, a baker could develop chronic asthma from breathing in flour dust. Other trades where workers are also at risk of developing occupational asthma include:

  • Spray painters.
  • Farmers and agricultural workers.
  • Welders.
  • Carpenters and woodworkers.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers are also at risk of occupational asthma due to natural rubber latex proteins used in the manufacture of gloves worn while doing surgery or performing medical examinations.

Claiming for Occupational Asthma

Claiming for occupational asthma can not only help address the expense of ongoing medical care, but it can also be a way of acknowledging the physical damage victims endure. Some people who develop occupational asthma need a change of job role where they work, or even to change jobs altogether.

It’s understandable to be worried about losing your job, or income, if your job role changes due to a diagnosis of occupational asthma. This is where claiming for occupational asthma can help; it can help pay for any asthma equipment you may need, such as inhalers, and can help you if you can no longer do the same job because of the condition.

How We Can Help

Here at The Compensation Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with industrial disease claims. This includes claims for occupational asthma. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Living With Vibration White Finger/Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Vibration White Finger/Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is a condition that affects the hands and fingers. Using vibrating tools at work can cause it. It is preventable, however, once there is enough damage, it is permanent. Therefore, living with Vibration White Finger/Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is a reality for most people who are diagnosed with the condition.

Causes of Vibration White Finger/Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome

Vibration White Finger (also known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome) is caused using vibrating tools over a long period of time. This can be a part of your job, but if you did not have the adequate protection whilst at work and you have Vibration White Finger, then you may be able to make a claim.

Some of the tools that can give off enough vibration to cause VWF include jackhammers, grinders, breakers, jigsaws, and hand held power tools. This list is not exhaustive, and any power tool has the potential to cause VWF.

As people who use power tools for a living will be particularly susceptible to VWF as they are using them daily for long periods of time, employers have a duty to inform employees of the risks associated with the work and to provide adequate safety equipment, such as vibration-absorbing gloves.

Other ways to help prevent VWF include:

  • Taking regular breaks from using vibrating tools
  • Ensuring tools have a regular maintenance schedule and are in good order
  • Undertaking training to ensure you are using tools in the correct way
living with vibration white finger/hand-arm vibration syndrome

Living with Vibration White Finger/Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome

There is no cure for VWF/HAVS, so many people find themselves having to live with the condition. According to SRUK, a charity for those suffering with the condition, the key to managing the condition is to try and prevent an attack of the symptoms. They state that the best ways to do this include:

  • Keeping warm
  • Relaxing and pacing yourself
  • Try to steer clear of stressful situations
  • Avoid vasoconstricting drugs (nasal decongestants, agents used to treat ADHD, some medications used to treat migraines
  • See the Doctor, as they can prescribe certain medicines to help with the condition

VWF may not be the most debilitating industrial disease, but it can still affect how people can use their hands, as it can limit mobility for hours at a time. If you have Vibration White Finger, then you may be able to claim compensation.

Claiming for VWF/HAVS

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 stipulates employers have a responsibility to protect their employees. Additionally, the law places a duty on employers to minimise the risks common to hand-operated vibration machinery including power tools. Therefore, your employer should take steps to reduce the risk of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome.

How we Can Help

Here at The Compensation Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with industrial disease claims. This includes Vibration White Finger/Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Accidents that Cause Deafness

There are many types of accidents that cause deafness. Some of the most common include industrial deafness, noise-induced hearing loss and head injuries. Industrial deafness and noise-induced hearing loss build up over time, whereas head injuries are usually more instant.

The severity of deafness and whether the deafness is permanent is a big factor in accidents that cause deafness, as both of these have different implications. If you have had an accident that has caused deafness, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

accidents that cause deafness

Industrial Deafness

Industrial deafness occurs when a person works in a noisy environment for a prolonged period with inadequate or no hearing protection. There are several industries where industrial deafness or noise-induced hearing loss are common. There include construction, manufacturing, and military.

Health and safety laws clearly state that if a worker is exposed to noise levels of 80 decibels either daily or weekly, then they should receive training about the dangers of noise levels and given access to hearing protection. Even with hearing protection, no employee should work where the average noise level is over 87 decibels. Employers have a duty to monitor the sound levels accurately to ensure the working environment is safe. There are laws in place to make sure that at-risk workers are protected in workplaces with high noise levels. Employers should take steps to meet the terms in The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

The Compensation Experts can also help with acoustic shock claims. Unlike industrial deafness, which usually occurs after prolonged exposure to loud noise, acoustic shock comes from a sudden noise. For example, a call centre worker may be affected due to a broken headset, or a sound engineer may be harmed by a technical fault. Acoustic shock does not cause hearing loss, but it does cause sensitivity to loud noise and recurring tinnitus.

Head Injuries

Another accident type that can cause deafness are accidents that cause head injuries. These injuries can come from numerous types of accident, including road traffic accidents, falls from height, assault, and accidents at work.

Suffering a head or brain injury can be a life-changing and traumatic event. Both for the person suffering the injury and their friends and family too. Often this kind of injury can leave people needing constant care and special equipment to help them get by. 

Claiming Compensation for Accidents that Cause Deafness

There are many reasons to claim compensation for accidents that cause deafness. You may have to make changes to your day-to-day life, you may have to pay for hearing aids, or you may even have to have surgery. Compensation can help with the financial aspect of accidents that cause deafness. This means you have one less thing to worry about.

We know that when you have an accident the last thing you may think about is making a claim. However, if you have had an accident that someone else was to blame for, then the solicitors we work with can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to.

How We Can Help with Accidents that Cause Deafness

Here at The Compensation Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with all manner of personal injury and industrial disease claims. This includes accidents that cause deafness, and industrial deafness. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Retired window cleaner died of asbestos illness

A retired window cleaner died from an industrial disease, according to a recent report. Sidney Curtis, 90, died at his home in Sheringham on December 31 last year. The cause of his death was an asbestos illness; mesothelioma and ischemic heart disease.

At an inquest into his death held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Friday, March 26 an assistant coroner for Norfolk, said he was a retired owner of a window cleaning company. The court heard how Mr Curtis had gone to his GP in March 2020, complaining of chest pains that had first developed the previous year. Following a number of tests, Mr Curtis was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in April 2020.

In a statement, Lisa Harvey, Mr Curtis’ daughter said her family were not sure when her father had come into contact with asbestos, but it was most likely during his time in the cleaning industry.

Asbestos illness

Asbestos-Related Illness Claims

Asbestos was widely used in the UK as a building material from the 1940s until the 1980s. It was then banned. We now know that Asbestos is incredibly harmful to lung function. Working with asbestos without the right protection can lead to life-shortening illnesses. These include asbestosis, asbestos-induced lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural thickening. If you or a loved one has an asbestos-related disease, then you may be able to claim.

Mesothelioma Related Illness Claims

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive type of cancer. Little or intermittent exposure to asbestos fibres often causes it. Similarly to asbestosis, symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite.

The cause of virtually all cases of Mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

All employers, past and present, owe their staff a duty of care to ensure their working environment is safe and staff are not at risk. You may be able to claim for an asbestos-related illness if you believe your employer failed in their duty of care. For example, if they did not provide you with the correct safety equipment. Another example is if they did not tell you the dangers associated with working with asbestos.

Asbestos-related illnesses take decades to form and often have a life-changing effect on all involved. The law surrounding asbestos illness claims is complex. Therefore, you should get solicitors that specialise in these types of claims.

How we can help with asbestos illness claims

Here at The Compensation Experts we work with a group of select legal firms who specialise in the law surrounding mesothelioma and other asbestos related claims. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Asbestos and Lung Cancer

November is lung cancer awareness month here in the UK, and as we know, there is a link between Asbestos and lung cancer; working with Asbestos for a prolonged period can heighten the risk of developing the disease. A study in 2020 found that Asbestos is responsible for 37.5% of all occupational lung cancer cases.

It is more important than ever to go and see a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of lung cancer. This is especially true if you have worked with Asbestos in the past.

Asbestos and Lung Cancer

In the past, the use of Asbestos was very common. However, we now know that it can cause serious illnesses. Asbestos and lung cancer are linked because of this fact, as lung cancer is one of the conditions that can develop after working with the substance.

Lung cancer from exposure to Asbestos can take years to develop. Many people with the disease do not start showing symptoms until at least 15 years after working with Asbestos. Because of this, many people think that it is too late to make a claim, but that is not always the case.

Examples of other conditions that exposure to Asbestos can cause include Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and pleural plaques.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious disease where the lung tissue hardens. It is a slowly progressive disease, usually taking between 15 and 30 years to develop. It is associated with long-term exposure to Asbestos fibres.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer. The cause of this disease is exposure to Asbestos fibres. It develops in the lining of the lungs, and it most commonly affects men aged between 60 and 80. Unfortunately, it is rarely possible to cure the disease, treatment can usually only help control the symptoms.

Symptoms of Asbestos-Induced Lung Cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer caused by exposure to Asbestos are similar to the symptoms for lung cancer. These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden weight or appetite loss

If you develop any of these symptoms, it is best to go and see a doctor straight away, because the condition may be worse than you think.

Claiming on Behalf of Someone Else

Sadly, it is often the case that you may have to claim on behalf of a loved one. This is often the case with Asbestos-related claims, as the damage from Asbestos develops over many years. So, you may be able to make a claim on a loved one’s behalf if they have died or are unable to speak for themselves due to their illness being so far advanced.

If you are speaking on behalf of a loved one, and they were diagnosed with an Asbestos related condition in the last three years, then we may be able to help.

How We Can Help

Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with specialist solicitors who have years of experience dealing with several industrial disease claims. This includes Asbestos related lung cancer. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable advisors.

Getting A Diagnosis of Vibration White Finger

If you are suffering with symptoms of Vibration White Finger, also known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), you may think that there is no point in getting a diagnosis, as there is nothing that can be done to help. This is not always the case, as getting a diagnosis of Vibration White Finger can be vital if you wish to make a claim.

Some people have already had a diagnosis, some have not. If you fall into either of these categories, you may still be able to make a claim. At times, the symptoms for VWF do not appear until years after the person has left the job that causes the condition. This could affect whether they have had a diagnosis. Again, this may be something that we can help with.

Getting A Diagnosis of Vibration White Finger

If you have the symptoms of Vibration White Finger, then it is always best to go and see a Doctor. This can help with your peace of mind as well as with a potential claim. Once you have had a diagnosis, you then have three years from your date of diagnosis to make a claim.

In some cases, it is better for you to have not had a diagnosis, as the three-year limitation period does not start until the diagnosis. However, it is recommended that if you do wish to make a potential claim to go and see your doctor.

If you have not been diagnosed, then we may still be able to help. If your symptoms have started in the last three years, then you may be able to make a claim.

Causes and Symptoms of Vibration White Finger

The main symptom of VWF is a whiteness in the tip of one or more fingers. This can be on one hand or both. There are other symptoms which are associated with the condition. These symptoms include:

  • Tingling in the fingers or hands
  • Stiffness of joints
  • Numbness in the hands or fingers
  • Poor circulation
  • Coldness in the fingers

These symptoms may worsen when it is cold weather, but, since no two cases are the same, they also may not. Sometimes the symptoms do not appear until years after you have stopped doing the job where you were using the vibration tools.

The main cause of VWF is through continued use of vibratory equipment. This includes power tools. Many of the enquiries that we get are from people who have had a prolonged use of power tools. These tools can harm joints, nerves and blood vessels in the fingers and hand.

In some cases, you can trace the cause of VWF to a job you worked at decades ago. Many of the enquiries we receive for Vibration White Finger include jobs that people worked at years ago. It may even be the case that the company have since gone out of business. This does not necessarily matter, we may still be able to help.

If that is the case, you may think that there is no way you would be able to claim, but that is not always the case. If you have started experiencing the symptoms within the last three years, for example, then you may still be able to make a claim.

How We Can Help

Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with claims. This includes claims for Vibration White Finger. Contact us today by filling in our contact form, or by calling us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

A Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a debilitating condition caused by the compression of the median nerve within the wrist. Because of this, the condition is heavily linked with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), although it should be said that the conditions are distinctly different.

In this guide, we wil outline the causes of CTS, how to treat it and how we can help if you have developed CTS due to your job.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel

CTS can be caused or exacerbated by repetitive movements. Therefore, you should try to avoid using your hands for unnecessary tasks at home and at work. For example, spending a long time on a computer using a keyboard or a tablet/smartphone at home will only make the condition worse.

High-risk job roles and tasks that should be avoided are ones that require you to work very fast in order to hit targets. Assembly lines, stock processing warehouses and heavy labour jobs in particular are common workplaces associated with the diagnosis of CTS.

We acknowledge that avoiding repetitive tasks at work can be difficult though. However, your employer is legally obliged to do everything they reasonably can to protect your physical well-being while you are at work. Furthermore, if you develop a condition or have a pre-existing condition, they have to make reasonable adjustments to your working environment and your duties in order to accommodate you.

You should inform your employer of your condition then and explain the situation. They should then support you in every way they can and carry out risk assessments on your workspace. You may be able to pursue a claim for compensation if your work has caused or exacerbated your condition.

The difference between Carpal Tunnel and Vibratory Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also be brought on by the constant use of vibratory tools, such as pneumatic drills, chainsaws, and grinders. This is known as Vibratory Induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (VCTS). The symptoms are similar, but the cause of the condition is heavy vibration affecting the wrists and causing swelling which, in turn, puts pressure on the median nerve. In these cases, the cause of the condition is almost always due to the sufferer’s occupation as well as using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when operating tools.

Anyone who operates heavy hand tools, especially ones that emit high levels of vibration are at high risk of contracting VCTS and another condition known as Vibration White Finger.

Treatments for Carpal Tunnel

Corticosteroid injections are a possible form of treatment and can be provided by the NHS. This is a non-invasive treatment and does not require surgery. Other basic treatments can be simply applying a wrist splint to support your wrist on a daily basis.

Decompression or release surgery is also available on the NHS. As it is a surgical intervention, this procedure will not be considered by a medical professional unless the condition is very severe and other treatments have not worked though.

How can The Compensation Experts help?

If you have been affected by CTS or VCTS and believe it to be work-related The Compensation Experts can provide legal assistance and help you obtain compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. Our offices are open Monday–Friday 9 am–5 pm and our expert advisors are always on hand to discuss. If you are thinking about making a claim why not get in touch today for a brief, no-obligation chat today.

If you believe that your workplace environment or your tasks at work have caused CTS to develop, you should first speak to your employer to ask for reasonable adjustments to be made. If these do not occur, and you then develop the condition or your condition worsens, then your employer is liable and you may be able to claim compensation from them.

At The Compensation Experts, we work with specialist legal firms who have a proven track record in making successful industrial disease and workplace injury compensation claims. We and the legal firms we work with have a lot of experience in these cases and so, are well-placed to help you get the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. After your initial consultation with our advisors, which is done on a free no-obligation basis, we will match you with the firm who best suits the circumstances of your case.

If you decide to progress your claim, your solicitor will collect any evidence to help build the strongest possible case to support your claim. This evidence will be used not only to prove your entitlement to compensation but also to show the extent of your physical and financial suffering to ensure the amount you receive is fair.

Do not hesitate then to get in touch with us via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8765.

What should I do if I’ve suffered Repetitive Strain Injury at work?

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an umbrella term for an increasingly common range of injuries that affect the hands and wrists and which are caused by prolonged and repeated movement. Initial symptoms may only initially appear while a certain action is being carried but may include aching, soreness or pain, stiffness, cramp, loss of strength in your hands, throbbing or numbness.

(Please note that RSI is a different condition to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which affects the same area.)

Symptoms will usually be mild initially and will not cause you too much concern. However, if left unchecked, these symptoms can gradually develop into severe, potentially constant pain and long-term health issues.

What causes RSI?

Repetitive strain injury is usually caused by damage to the tendons due to prolonged over-use. Poor posture, often related to inadequate working conditions, can also exacerbate tendon damage, leading to RSI. Other contributory factors include cold temperatures, often from working outside or if the office you work in isn’t heated sufficiently, as well as regular contact with vibrating machinery, which can also cause other industrial diseases like Vibration White Finger.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who carries out repetitive movements is potentially at risk from contracting RSI. Office workers who spend long periods of time tapping at computer keyboards often get RSI in their fingers and wrists. Factory workers who spend hours of every day assembling items or carrying out repetitive duties often contract RSI as a result of their work. Construction workers who work outside in cold temperatures, often with vibrating machinery such as drills are also at risk.

What to do if you think you might have RSI

The first step should always be to visit your doctor or GP, who will be able to tell you what steps you need to take to stop your condition worsening. As you will now have been officially diagnosed by a medical professional and this diagnosis will now be a part of your medical records, it also means that your employer will be required to act to help stop the condition getting worse as well.

Your employer’s duty

It should be said though that your employer has a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and its subsequent updates to do everything reasonably possible to protect your physical well-being at work. This includes doing everything it reasonably can to prevent you form developing RSI in the first place. If you do then develop any kind of injury or disease, whether it has been caused by the workplace or not, your employer is also required to make reasonable adjustments so that you are able to continue working.

How we can help

If you believe that your workplace environment or your tasks at work increase the risk of you developing RSI, you should first speak to your employer to ask for reasonable adjustments to be made. If these do not occur, and you then develop the condition, then your employer is liable and you may be able to claim compensation from them.

At The Compensation Experts, we work with specialist legal firms who have a proven track record in making successful industrial disease and workplace injury compensation claims. We and the legal firms we work with have a lot of experience in these cases and so, are well-placed to help you get the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. After your initial consultation with our advisors, which is done on a free no-obligation basis, we will match you with the firm who best suits the circumstances of your case.

If you decide to progress your claim, your solicitor will collect any evidence to help build the strongest possible case to support your claim. This evidence will be used not only to prove your entitlement to compensation but also to show the extent of your physical and financial suffering to ensure the amount you receive is fair.

Do not hesitate then to get in touch with us via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8765.

Is it safe to use vaping products? What you need to know

You may have read some stories late last year about a spate of deaths across the United States linked to the use of vape pens.

The story has now taken an interesting turn, as The World Health Organisation (WHO) published new guidance on its website at the start of the week stating that it regards vaping to be harmful and even more dangerous than smoking cigarettes in some circumstances.

The vaping deaths in America

This new guidance may in part be due to the deaths in the United States where, to date, 60 people have died in the US as a result of lung injuries and vaping-related illnesses, with a further 2,668 cases of lung illnesses having been confirmed across the country. Alaska, in fact, is the only state not to have reported a case. Furthermore, two states – Massachusetts and New Jersey – have banned the sale of e-cigarette products.

Most patients have reported a history of using products containing THC – the psychoactive compound found in cannabis – while researchers from America’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) now believe that vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in some THC vaping liquids, could be behind the illness and the scarring found in suffers’ lungs. The researchers from the CDC came to this conclusion after finding vitamin E acetate in all of the patient’s lung fluid samples they had tested. It should be noted though that, in many of these cases, the patient had been using THC-infused oil that had been purchased on the black market.

The situation in the UK

While this is certainly a cause for concern and the WHO’s guidance should be given serious consideration, it should be said that there have been no confirmed deaths linked to vaping in the UK. The NHS also continues to recommend vaping as a healthier alternative to the smoking of cigarettes, saying that “e-cigarettes aren’t completely risk-free but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.”

However, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on this issue and be mindful of the cases in America, as there have been some cases in the UK where vaping has been cited as a possible cause. For example, as reported in The Independent in November last year, some doctors believe the death of 57-year-old British factory worker Terry Miller from lipoid pneumonia was linked to vaping after oil from an e-cigarette was found in his lungs, with the coroner returning an open verdict at the inquest after saying he could not be sure whether vaping was a contributory factor.

Furthermore, as reported in the British Medical Journal, doctors identified the cause as vegetable glycerine found in e-cigarettes last year after a 34-year-old woman was found to have developed lipoid pneumonia.

It is important to say though that the link between vaping and lipoid pneumonia is still disputed. As quoted in the same Independent article, Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, said;

“The case of lipoid pneumonia was allegedly caused by glycerin in the vape liquid the patient was inhaling – but glycerin is water-soluble and an alcohol and not a lipid, so the glycerin is unlikely to cause lipoid pneumonia.”

Therefore, according to Professor McNeill, the 34-year-old woman’s case “doesn’t really add up” and so, it could not be concluded that her illness was caused by vaping a nicotine e-cigarette.

We will be keeping a close eye on this issue then. If it is found that the manufacturers of e-cigarettes and those who produce the numerous flavoured oils users smoke, knew of the risks to users’ lungs, then anyone who suffers, as a result, could have grounds to make a claim against those manufacturers and producers. If this does happen, we at The Compensation Experts will be well-placed to put sufferers in touch with the right solicitors as we have a lot of experience dealing with those who have suffered from lung-related illnesses and injuries, such as mesothelioma, occupational asthma or asbestos-related claims, due to medical or employer negligence.

For now…

…the risks to vapers in the UK are believed to be minimal. Do not worry or think that switching to cigarettes would be a better alternative. It certainly would not be.

In the meantime, until more research is done and more is known about the cases linked in vaping in America, it is worth remembering what we noted earlier; many of the cases in the US were ones in which the patient had bought THC-infused oil from black market sources. Therefore, to ensure your continued health (and also to ensure you stay on the correct side of the law), make sure you only buying vaping products from reputable legal sources.