Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, employers have a duty of care to ensure that workers are protected from exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. This includes exposure to latex and latex vapours. If you developed latex allergies because your employer failed to comply with the COSHH regulations, you may have grounds to file a latex allergy compensation claim.
What Is A Latex Allergy?
Latex is commonly used to manufacture a variety of products, from everyday household items such as toys, balloons, and handbags to medical and dental supplies such as gloves, stethoscopes, syringes, dressings, intravenous tubing, and catheters, among others. Despite its relatively widespread use, it is not the safest of materials because it can cause a severe allergic reaction, usually with prolonged use. People who are exposed to latex products regularly are more susceptible to suffering latex allergies due to certain proteins in the latex which the body can perceive as harmful.
Causes & Symptoms Of Latex Allergies
Latex allergies can be caused through two main ways –
- Direct contact with the material
- Inhalation of the microscopic particles
Healthcare workers who wear latex gloves for a major part of the work day are highly vulnerable to developing latex allergies from direct contact. This can cause latex allergy symptoms such as skin soreness and itching, dry or weeping rashes, hives, or cracked skin.
Workers employed in factories that manufacture rubber toys, balloons, certain medical supplies, and other items that use latex as a raw material, are susceptible to developing latex allergies through direct contact or by inhalation of rubber fumes or by ingesting the microscopic particles. In addition to the above symptoms, factory workers may also experience a stuffy or runny nose or more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing and chest tightness. Workers who are severely allergic may also suffer anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Preventing Latex Allergy Compensation Claims In The Workplace
The COSHH Regulations 2002 make it clear that employers are fully responsible for safety practices in the workplace. To comply with these regulations and prevent latex allergy compensation claims, employers are required to protect workers from the risks of latex allergies and can do so by providing gloves made from other materials such as vinyl, neoprene, polyurethane, or nitrile. If there is a risk of inhaling rubber vapours, workers must also be provided with adequate respiratory apparatus.
Employers must also conduct regular training sessions to educate employers in proper safety measures, make sure first-aid kits are easily available in case of emergencies, and also ensure that the workplace is adequately ventilated.
Making A Latex Allergy Claim For Compensation
Your topmost priority should always be to seek medical treatment for your latex allergic reaction, no matter how mild or severe. Consulting a doctor does two things, both of which are equally important. Firstly, it helps prevent a mild reaction from becoming more serious. If the reaction is already serious, receiving medical attention helps to minimise the impact. Secondly, seeking treatment establishes the fact that you suffered an allergic reaction to latex. This will help to support your latex allergy compensation claim.
The next thing to do is to speak to a personal injury solicitor to determine whether or not you have good grounds for filing a claim. Our personal injury solicitors have experience with dealing with all types of allergy claims and will be able to give you professional (and free) advice as to what you should do next.
What To Expect From A Personal Injury Solicitor
Personal injury solicitors understand that most injury victims face several challenges when trying to exercise their legal right to claim compensation. In order to make it easier for their clients, most personal injury solicitors offer free consultations so they can discuss your latex allergy and why you believe you should be compensated. The advice they give you will depend on whether you have a weak or strong claim. If you have a weak claim, they may advise you not to pursue any claim. However, if your claim has merit, they may advise you to go ahead a file a latex allergy claim for compensation.
Should you decide to proceed with a latex allergy claim, you may be offered the opportunity to do so using a No Win No Fee agreement. Your solicitor will be happy to discuss any details and terms of the contract with you.
How A Typical No Win No Fee Agreement Works
With a typical No Win No Fee agreement in place, the solicitor essentially takes on the responsibility of funding your latex allergy compensation claim. They pay all up-front expenses associated with your claim so you don’t pay any out of pocket expenses or take any financial risks. They will also make sure that your claim is filed within the 3-year time limit.
You are only liable to pay your solicitor if your claim is successful and you are awarded compensation. The fee you will pay is usually a percentage of the compensation awarded. You are not liable to paying fees of any kind if your claim is unsuccessful.
How Much Compensation For A Latex Allergy Claim?
As each latex allergy claim is unique due to factors such as how severe the allergy is and what effect it has had on your life (working and social for instance), your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for your latex allergy you could claim for your circumstances specifically. In other words compensation varies from case to case and will be based upon general damages and special damages.
Before filing your claim, your personal injury solicitor will research the latest precedents to learn more about earlier settlements. Based on this, they can make sure they claim the maximum compensation for your injury.
If you’ve suffered an allergic reaction to latex and would like free advice from a personal injury solicitor on making a latex allergy compensation claim, please get in touch with us today.