Are you more at risk of illness or injury in your working environment?

by AtriumLegal on April 16, 2013

Any industry carries inherent risks to your health and well-being, however these have been significantly reduced owed to the respective health & safety department of each nation. In the United Kingdom the governing body for controlling these regulations is knows and the Health & Safety Executive or the HSE, these governing bodies track each reported case of illness or injury whilst at work and implement new legislation which is aimed at reducing the amount of reported incidents for any given case.

The numbers behind injuries and illnesses are staggering with almost 1.4 billion pounds being spent across the United Kingdom every year to accommodate these incidents. As the type of industry in which people work changes so does the numbers of people injured and the amount illnesses developed. Nowadays employers who are negligent and do not adhere to the strict guidelines set may be held liable by disgruntled employees for any accident within a working environment or for any illnesses they develop due to the substances that they have encountered, an example of this would be an industrial worker who has just been diagnosed with mesothelioma owed to being exposed to asbestos during his working life, he would be eligible to claim for asbestos compensation on the grounds that his employer should have protected him from this illness.

On the whole there are over 110,000 reported accidents that require 3 or more days off work reported annually, this means that suffering an injury in your workplace is far more likely that developing an illness. However the chances of being the victim of a fatal accident in your workplace are far less likely than passing away due to an illness caused by work, the total amount of fatal accidents across all industries in the United Kingdom last year was 183, however more than 2300 people are dying each year from mesothelioma due to working with asbestos.

There are several high risk industries when it comes to accidents at work, these include:


  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

– 1146 reported injuries annually

– 691 out of every 100,000 are injured per year.

– Most dangerous jobs include forestry and logging.

  • Water Supply, Waste disposal, Sewage.

– 2300 reported injuries annually

– 1330 out of every 100,000 are injured per year.

– Most dangerous jobs include waste collection, treatment and disposal.

  • Total service industries

– 82,000 reported injuries annually

– 403 out of every 100,000 are injured per year.

– Most dangerous jobs include air transport.


Accidents include a multitude of scenarios such as a slip or trip at work, or getting your hand caught in machinery and are easily attributed to your working environment but what about illnesses? Health conditions are often overlooked or not related to work but can be just as devastating to your well-being. The main work related illnesses are as follows:


  • Mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening/ plaques.

– These conditions are cause by exposure to asbestos and affect thousands each year. Generally affecting the older generation many sufferers have not worked for a number of years but are experiencing symptoms now owed to the lengthy latency period that asbestos related illnesses have (15-50 years from initial exposure).

– Otherwise known as noise induced hearing loss, this affects many people who worked in excessively noisy environments for extended periods of time. Many employers are now being held accountable for not supplying adequate hearing protection.

  • Dermatitis

– Often mistaken for eczema this condition affects the skin causing itching, redness and discomfort to the sufferer. Generally found in industries which use chemicals such as cleaners and beauty therapists dermatitis can be treated by steroid creams prescribed by doctors and avoiding further contact to the substance.

  • Repetitive Strain Injuries

– Typists and administrative office workers are most at risk from this illness. Although not considered life threatening RSI’s can severely affect your ability to undertake many tasks, if severe enough even attempting simple tasks such as washing the dishes can be extremely painful and may require invasive surgery to relieve the symptoms.

  • Breathing issues

Conditions such as C.O.P.D and emphysema are found in industries that require working with airborne substances and many miners are now suffering with breathing complaints such as silicosis. It is worth noting that if you are a smoker you will exacerbate these conditions quite dramatically.

An employer has to by law protect from all the injuries and ailments above. Laws are set in place to protect workers and if they aren’t adhered to they are eligible to claim compensation if and when there health is compromised.

Atrium Legal Service are the UK's largest specialists in Industrial Disease claims. We help workers who have been made injured or ill due to their working environment. This covers areas such as hearing loss claims, breathing issues, skin problems, asbestos compensation and injury.

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