The compensation culture in this country is on a rapid upward curve. As health and safety laws grow ever tighter, more and more claims are made. Whether it’s car accidents, trips and falls at work or medical negligence, the industry is basking in its large growth. However, there is one area that is rising faster than many others. It’s a less common aspect of the compensation industry, but it is growing in scope and size. We’re talking about chemical injury claims.
Chemical injury claims are based predominantly in the agriculture, construction and laboratory environments. However, it’s intriguing to note their particular rise at the moment. Most of these claims are being taken out against employers based on health conditions. Of course, it’s no surprise that chemicals can cause devastating health conditions. But, it is important to note that employers are responsible for their workers’ health and safety. Under employee liability laws, the employer must provide sufficient health provisions for their workers.
So, what exactly are the health problems associated with chemical industries? First of all, there are the immediate health conditions. Working with dangerous chemicals can cause immediate and dangerous problems. For example, certain chemicals will cause itching and irritated skin. Some will cause vision problems if they infiltrate the eyes. Others could be inhaled or swallowed. A chemical poisoning claim can be made on the basis of any accident that leads to immediate health care.
There are also long-term health problems that generate slowly over the years. Lengthy exposure to chemicals has been linked to cancer, heart problems and even infertility. In some cases, it’s impossible to connect the issues until they develop years or decades later. They manifest in various ways, and we still don’t fully understand how certain chemicals affect the body.
This long-term issue is what has led to the sudden rise in chemical injury claims. As science and medicine grows smarter, it slowly connects the dots between chemicals and health. After years of working in mines or on construction sites, scientists would only draw conclusions years later. As awareness increased, ex-employees began back-dating injury claims against their long-term health problems. It could include treatments for asthma and other respiratory problems as well as cancers.
Another important factor is the relative growth of the two industries. The sheer volume of job sectors using chemicals now is enormous. The agriculture industry has expanded into vast industrial corporations. There has been a decline of small farm-hand industry. In its place we see the growth of mechanical, chemical-based agriculture. Outside the farm world, more companies are embracing new chemicals as we learn about their properties. More laboratories are being built and construction projects grow larger and more complex. Essentially, more industries are dealing in hazardous chemicals. Naturally, the number of injuries is increasing proportionally.
The rise follows a general pattern of increasing compensation claims. As laws get tighter, employers are under more pressure and increasingly vulnerable to lawsuits. Employees and ex-workers are becoming more aware and taking advantage of this. The trend look set to continue further in the future.