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Injured at work or suffering from a work-related illness?

Your employer is responsible for minimising risks and hazards in the workplace. We can offer you the support and guidance you need on claiming compensation for injuries or illness caused by your work.

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Causes of Chemical Injuries

Causes of Chemical Injuries

The causes of chemical injuries can range from spills of dangerous chemicals, which can lead to burns from direct contact with the chemical, to more long-term causes such as poisoning from the regular inhalation of tiny amounts of dangerous chemicals (such as lead in lead paint) over a long period of time.

Some of the causes of chemical injuries include:

  • Physical contact with a hazardous chemical
  • Breathing in the vapours of a dangerous chemical
  • Overdosing on medicine which contains a harmful substance
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals over time, for example within the manufacturing or mining industries

The most important thing to remember about the known potential causes of chemical injuries is that, where a working or other environment may put people at risk from, health and safety measures should be taken by the employer or the person responsible to prevent chemical injuries from happening.

Guarding against chemical injuries

Many of the chemicals widely used in industry are known causes of chemical injury when used without the correct safety precautions. Generally, any chemical which is toxic or corrosive has the potential to be a cause of chemical injury to an employee who is exposed to it.

Some employees may be more susceptible to the causes of chemical injury than others, so even if two people are doing exactly the same job with the same level of chemical exposure, one person may be badly affected while the other isn't affected at all.

However, even if a chemical is affecting an employee, it can be difficult to identify some of the causes of chemical injury, simply because the symptoms can build up gradually over time.

Employers' responsibilities with the causes of chemical injuries

Employers must be aware of any potential causes of chemical injury in their workplace and must provide employees with:

  • Adequate health and safety training
  • Safety equipment for handling chemicals
  • Protective clothing to prevent contact with hazardous substances

In many cases, these will reduce or eliminate the risk of employees sustaining chemical injuries. If this duty is not carried out, an injured employee may be entitled to make a chemical injury claim.


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