Welding accident and illness claims

Welding is a skilled occupation which requires a great deal of care and attention whilst doing so to prevent the risk of an accident or illness.

It is a high risk occupation but these risks can be prevented if protective measures are taken, e.g. welding mask, respiratory equipment etc.

If these are not provided or are inadequate then the consequences can be devastating. Damaged eyesight and Parkinson’s disease are some of these life changing consequences.

If you work as a welder and have sustained an accident or illness due to negligence then you may be able to claim compensation.

Welding accidents

The most likely injuries are those to the eyes and the skin. Welding produces ultra-violet and infra-red radiation which heats the surface of the skin causing burns.

It can also damage the surface of the eyes in a condition known as ‘arc eye’.

It is important that the welder uses a mask or goggles whilst working to prevent light produced during the welding process from damaging the eye.

Welding illness

Intense heat is produced during the welding process which can have a damaging effect on the welder’s health. These fumes cause a range of respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or occupational asthma but they can affect other parts of the body as well.

One example is a condition called manganese poisoning. This is caused by the inhalation of manganese fumes produced when working with carbon steel which cause serious side effects.

These include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Shakes/tremors
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Psychological problems

These symptoms affect the central nervous system and have a serious impact upon the affected person’s quality of life.

Employer responsibility

An employer has a responsibility to ensure that their workers are protected against the risk of an accident or illness whilst engaged in their duties.

In the case of welding this means providing protective clothing, e.g. safety goggle and ensuring that the welder is aware of the risks with their occupation.

There are various Health and Safety guidelines plus the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH) which are designed to protect employees against the risk of exposure to chemicals and other dangerous substances. This includes toxic fumes generated during welding.

(Source: Health and Safety Executive)

An employer must carry out a risk assessment and provide suitable protection as required.

A failure to do so or negligence puts the employee at risk and makes the employer liable for compensation.

Effects of a welding accident or illness

An accident or illness of this type causes physical and mental trauma which in some cases may be permanent.

If you have been injured or developed an illness due to welding then affects not only you but your family as well. You may be forced to change jobs or are unable to work which puts a huge strain upon your finances.

The loss in earnings, possible pension rights and any other benefits increases the risk of financial hardship. That will only add to you and your family’s stress.

If you have developed a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s’disease then you will require lifelong care and treatment. There may be additional expenses involved with this - all of which has to be paid for.

If you qualify for help from the State then that will certainly help but if not then you are faced with having to adapt to your condition as well as the costs.

This is where compensation can help. It will not undo what has happened or restore you to full health but it can make a positive difference to your quality of life.

Making a claim for compensation for a welding accident or illness

Look for a personal injury lawyer or solicitor who has dealt with numerous claims such as these and has the knowledge and expertise to do so.

He or she will assess your claim to see what grounds there are for compensation and will examine any evidence to accompany it. The issue of evidence is an important one as this can determine the outcome.

The issue of compensation rests upon blame: if your employer was shown to be negligent then this increases your chance of success.

Your lawyer or solicitor should handle your case with sympathy and understanding and should discuss the possible outcome of your claim with you.

If you want to know more about the claims process then visit our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a welding accident or injury

Cases which involve personal injury usually have a 3 year time limit. This is why it is important that you find a lawyer or solicitor as soon as you can.

Make a claim for compensation within 3 years of your accident or illness.

Personal Injury Guide

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