Industrial Disease Compensation Claims

A large number of personal injury compensation claims in Scotland don’t occur as a result of a one-off accident. Instead, a person’s exposure to certain things during the course of their employment can lead to industrial diseases or work-related illnesses.

This can include being exposed to certain substances, such as dust fumes and chemicals, continually being exposed to a noisy environment or undertaking tasks which require the use of vibrating tools or repetitive processes at work.


There are many types of industrial diseases or work-related illnesses and some of the most common are:


  • Exposure to Substances Hazardous to Health – this can occur as either one-off exposure or exposure over a long period of time. Hazardous substances can result in short or long term illnesses and health conditions (including conditions such as dermatitis) depending on the substance an individual has been exposed to, the quantity and frequency of exposure.  In the most severe cases, exposure to certain chemicals such as asbestos can have life-limiting and even fatal consequences.

For this reason, there has been a range of laws and regulations placed on employers to protect workers against the effects that these substances can have.  The most commonly known regulations in this area are the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.

  • Work-Related Strain & Vibration – these injuries or conditions usually occur as a result of exposure to the frequent use of vibrating power tools or as a result of a person’s work involving a repetitive process. The most common conditions as a result of such exposure are:
    • Vibration White Finger (VWF)
    • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
    • Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Employers have a duty to protect workers from exposure to work equipment which is likely to cause them injuries either in the short or long term.  Likewise, they also have a duty to ensure that a person’s work is organised in such a way that they do not continue doing the same activity to reduce or eliminate the chance of that person suffering a repetitive strain injury.

  • Respiratory Disease – Respiratory conditions were reported to affect over many people in the UK, with almost 150,000 reporting to the Health & Safety Executive in 2017 that they considered their working environment had contributed to them suffering from breathing or lung problems. The most widely report and well-known types of respiratory problems resulting from a person’s employment are:
    • Asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma
    • Occupational Asthma
    • Lung Cancer
    • Silicosis

These conditions can result as a result of either the general work environment or exposure to a particularly harmful substance that has not been properly controlled by their employer.  Employers have a duty to ensure that workers are not exposed to harmful substances that workplaces are safe and suitable for workers and, where harmful substances need to be used, that suitable protections are in place.

  • Industrial Deafness & Tinnitus – people working in a particularly noisy environment, for example, those using loud power tools, can suffer from reduced hearing or deafness and/or tinnitus (a condition which causes ringing in the ears) if sufficient protection isn’t put in place to protect them. Employers have a duty to offer protection against noise exposure by providing suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as ear defenders.  They also require to organise work in such a way so as to reduce prolonged exposure to loud noise.

Symptoms of an industrial disease can often take a long time to develop but it is important that you act when you think your workplace or working conditions may be affecting your health.

Our personal injury compensation calculator will help you estimate the amount you may be able to claim for. However, this should be taken as a guide.

Pursuing a compensation claim for industrial disease and work-related illness


Claiming against your employer can often seem like a daunting process but if your employer has not fulfilled their duty to protect you and provide a safe working environment then you are legally entitled to seek justice and compensation.

Watermans have acted for a large number of clients who have developed a range of industrial diseases and work-related illnesses and our team of personal injury specialist solicitors will be able to guide you through the claims process.

To find out more on industrial disease compensation claims and how to start one, please contact our no win no fee solicitors, who are experts in handling construction accident claims. You can reach them on 0131 555 7055 or 0141 430 7055 for a free evaluation of your circumstances. Or you can contact us through our form.