North East Post
A Voice of the Free Press
12:00 AM 7th May 2024

Working In One Of These Professions Could Mean Your Risk Of Developing Asthma Is Heightened

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash
Industrial disease lawyer Simpson Millar has warned that people working in some of the UK’s most popular professions could experience worsening respiratory symptoms over the next three months.

The warning comes in the form of the company's latest research for World Asthma Day (7th May), in which their industrial disease lawyers have used internal data to reveal the most likely professions to suffer from asthma as a result of work.

What’s more they have issued a warning saying in light of hay fever season worsening symptoms of asthma, employers and employees must take additional precautions.

1 in 10 cases of asthma in the UK are thought to be caused by factors at work.

Simpson Millar listed the following professions as the most at risk for developing asthma:

Animal handlers (including veterinary nurses and pet groomers)
Metal workers
Pharmaceutical workers
Chemical manufacturers
Food production workers
Adhesive handlers

Simpson Millar explains that professions working with chemicals (such as hairdressers and pharmacy workers) are at higher risk of developing asthma due to exposure to chemicals such as persulfate salts, typically found in bleach chemicals that are used to lighten hair. Studies show that due to exposure to these chemicals, the presence of a respiratory disorder has been found at an early stage in hairdressing apprentices.

Other workers such as those working with pets can become symptomatic from exposure to a higher amount of dust and fur and therefore develop sensitivity to it.

This sensitivity, whatever your occupation, is heightened in hay fever season given symptoms for the two are so closely connected. Workers may experience asthmatic symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing worsen due to additional pressure of hayfever.

5 things employers should be doing to limit worsening symptoms of asthma during hayfever season:

Businesses have a legal responsibility to prevent and control exposure to dangerous substances, as per the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. Some of these substances are invisible or have very small particles, like flour, paint, wood or animal fur, and it may surprise employers to know how dangerous that can be to their employee health.

1. Businesses should conduct regular health and safety risk assessments, identifying dangerous substances (e.g. flour in a bakery, pet fur, paint in car manufacturing, dangerous chemicals)

2. Your employer should provide you with with appropriate Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) e.g. masks

3. Ensure health and safety training on the use of potentially dangerous substances or machinery is up to date

4. Practise safe storing of harmful chemicals and mop up any spills of these quickly

5. Implement controls of no smoking policies to reduce any risk of exposure and increased symptoms

For more information click here