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Occupational asthma, lung diseases and workers’ compensation

Workers' compensation

Shine Lawyers has a strong history of representing people who develop a lung disease after exposure to a hazardous substance as part of their work. Symptoms of occupational asthma and other occupational lung diseases may not be present until many years after your exposure at work. Occupational asthma and occupational lung diseases can profoundly impact your quality of life and cause complications that can sometimes result in death. 

We pursue occupational asthma and occupational lung disease workers’ compensation claims Australia-wide. If you or your loved one has been exposed to hazardous substances at work, get in touch with us today.  

Shine Lawyers can help you determine your rights and entitlements under Australian law. As part of our service offering, we provide all workers’ compensation claims services on a No Win, No Fee* basis, which means you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your claim at the end (*conditions apply).

What is occupational asthma? 

There are over 30 different types of lung disease. Internationally, workplace exposure is believed to account for approximately:  

  • 15% of adult-onset asthma 

  • 15% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 

  • Between 10%-25% of lung cancer 

Occupational asthma causes include exposure to dusts, chemicals and other substances in the workplace.  

Who is most at risk of developing occupational asthma? 

Occupational asthma is most prevalent where work tasks, practices or materials mean workers are exposed to hazardous substances, usually at a high level or over a long period of time. 

Examples of the types of industries and professions where workers are most likely to be exposed include: 

  • Agriculture, such as farming 

  • Working with animals 

  • Metal work 

  • Wood work 

  • Food preparation 

  • Cleaners 

  • Carers 

  • Nurses 

What are common allergens and irritants that may cause occupational asthma? 

The common allergens and irritants that may trigger occupational asthma are called asthmagens. These include: 

  • Bio-aerosols, such as moulds in rotting food 

  • Flours 

  • Metal working fluids 

  • Latex (such as in gloves) 

  • Insects or mites (such as in animal saliva, skin or fur) 

  • Industrial cleaning and sterilising agents 

  • Epoxy resins and adhesives 

  • Wood dusts such as western red cedar 

What are other occupational lung diseases? 

Other occupational lung diseases include: 

Occupational asthma symptoms 

Occupational asthma symptoms, and those common to other occupational lung diseases, include: 

  • Wheezing 

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Nasal congestion / runny nose 

  • A feeling of tightness in your chest 

  • Eye irritation 

What to do if you’re exposed 

Symptoms of occupational lung diseases can take years to develop, even many years after your workplace exposure. If you or a loved one develops symptoms and you believe it may be work-related, it’s important to immediately seek medical advice and legal advice. Find out more here.  

Check if you have a claim with our simple, free online tool.

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What we will ask: 

  • Details about the accident and injuries that have happened to you or your loved one 

  • Basic personal information that is relevant and necessary for your claim

What happens next:  

  • Either book a no obligation appointment with a compensation law expert right away or,    

  • Speak with our team about your options

How can you claim occupational asthma compensation?  

Occupational asthma and other occupational lung diseases can cause serious issues and complications. Recovering compensation to help ease the financial strain these conditions can cause is well within your rights.  

As soon as you are concerned that you or your loved one may have occupational asthma or another occupational lung disease, contact Shine Lawyers for an obligation-free appointment.  

We can assist with managing your workers’ compensation claim from start to finish, to ensure you can access the compensation you’re entitled to. Strict time limitations apply, so it’s important to act quickly.  

Time limits to claim compensation 

Your claim is made in the state or territory where your exposure to a toxic substance occurred. Each Australian state and territory has different laws and strict time limitations for making a compensation claim for an occupational lung disease. Depending on your circumstances, your claim would be for workers’ compensation, and you may also be eligible for other benefits through your superannuation.  

The causal connection between your work and your injury 

If you have occupational asthma or another occupational lung disease, you may be able to claim, even if: 

  • You’re no longer working at the place of exposure 

  • Your employer is no longer in business 

  • You were self-employed or engaged as a contractor 

  • You are or were employed by multiple organisations 

  • You suffered second-hand exposure  

  • You are or were a smoker 

Your legal team must establish that exposure at work caused or made your condition worse. The onus is usually on you to prove the causal connection between your employment and your injury.  

In some cases it’s sufficient to establish that there’s a higher risk of developing an occupational lung disease because of the nature of your work. In such circumstances, the onus is on the workers’ compensation scheme in your state or territory to prove that your injury is not related to your employment.  

How much compensation do you get for occupational asthma?  

Each compensation claim for occupational asthma or an occupational lung disease is different. Each depends on the circumstances of your exposure at work and the impact of the disease on your life. Workers’ compensation claims for occupational lung disease have increased over the past decade. Depending on the nature of your occupational asthma claim, a monetary value is usually placed on the gap between your predicted life path before the condition, and your actual life path since being diagnosed. 

Superannuation and Disability Insurance  

If you can’t work due to your occupational asthma or other occupational lung diseases, you might be entitled to benefits through your superannuation or other insurance policies. We recommend speaking to one of our experts for a quick, obligation-free analysis of your situation to determine your rights and ability to make a claim.  

Learn more about Superannuation and Disability Insurance Claims

How Shine can help with your workers' compensation claim

We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion in entitlements and compensation through our expert services.  

95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court. 

We offer access to affordable legal advice including on a No Win, No Fee* basis and an obligation free initial consultation so you can understand your rights and know where you stand.  

*Conditions apply  

We are ready to take action to get you access to compensation, protect your future and right wrong.  Find out more today:

Occupational asthma and occupational lung diseases FAQs

What is occupational lung disease?

According to SafeWork Australia, occupational lung diseases are “work-related diseases of the respiratory system”. They can develop soon after exposure to a particular hazard, or many years later. 

Is occupational asthma permanent? 

Occupational asthma can cause permanent changes to your lungs if it’s not diagnosed early. The longer you‘re exposed to allergens and irritants in your workplace, the higher the possibility that occupational asthma and lung damage is permanent. 

Can I represent myself, or do I need a workers’ compensation lawyer? 

It is possible to legally represent yourself when making a workers’ compensation claim. Doing so successfully however will likely require a thorough understanding of the law, relevant time limits in making a claim, your legal rights and entitlements, and a commitment to actively pursue the case to move it forward. 

Our expertise and experience mean we know how to advance a claim for compensation for you or your loved one, to secure the best outcome possible. We conduct each case with sensitivity and compassion.  

Why trust Shine to be my workers’ compensation lawyers? 

At Shine Lawyers, we put you first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.  

Our empathy, understanding and expertise is why we’re ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way. 

Where are Shine workers’ compensation lawyers located? 

With more than 40 branches across Australia and 1000+ team members, location is no barrier when it comes to accessing Shine Lawyers legal advice and support.  

If you’d like to speak to our workers’ compensation team in person, you can see our full list of locations here. 

If you aren't able to find a location near you, we can easily arrange an obligation-free virtual appointment. No matter where you are located, we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment. 

Do you have a claim?  

We’re here to make the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.

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