If a welding illness has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by welding illness, we can help.
In this article
You are not alone
The Health and Safety Executive has estimated that approximately 40-50 people who are engaged in welding for a living require hospitalisation each year. Welding illness is relatively random: some welders are unaffected by their occupation, while others can suffer a range of symptoms.
Welding illness can range from minor complaints that resolve within a short period of time, to major conditions that drastically alter quality of life.
If you decide to make a welding illness claim, your industrial disease solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
What causes welding illness?
A welding accident, in which ultra violet and infra red radiation affects the welder, can cause serious burns to the skin. 'Arc eye', in which the surface of the eye is eroded by radiation, can also be caused by a welding accident. Both burns and 'arc eye' can be the result of an employer failing to provide effective personal protective equipment, or as the result of an employee neglecting to use such equipment correctly.
Welding illness can also be caused by the production of fumes during the welding process. A lack of appropriate ventilation or failure to use the correct personal protective equipment can cause welders to ingest toxic amounts of fumes. This ingestion can be extremely detrimental to the health of the welder, and may result in the necessity to change careers, or an inability to work in any capacity.
What conditions can be caused by welding fumes?
Welding fume fever can appear very similar to the 'flu. It usually resolves after a period of time, and it is unlikely to cause long term effects on the health of the welder.
The function of the lungs can be temporarily affected by the ingestion of welding fumes. This can mean that you have difficulty breathing that escalates over the course of your week at work. If exposure is limited thereafter, you may not experience any lasting effects.
If the area in which you are welding is not appropriately ventilated, you may develop chronic bronchitis or occupational asthma. This is caused by the fumes irritating the lining of the lungs, and can drastically affect your day to day life, making breathing difficult and laborious. The inhalation of rosin, a resin sometimes used by welders, can also be a precursor to occupational asthma. Unfortunately, the effects of this can be permanent and risk your life.
Welder's Siderosis, also known as Welder's Lung, can occur when tiny pieces of iron get into the lungs. This can happen to people who are involved in welding carbon steels. This condition can also make breathing difficult, and reduce your ability to complete simple tasks or engage in exercise.
Manganism can result from welding carbon steel. Also known as manganese poisoning, the effects of this can be extremely debilitating. Symptoms often mimic those of Parkinson's Disease, and may include trembling, shaking, difficulties with balance, slurred speech, problems with walking, impotence, feeling tired all the time, and leg cramps during the night.
Can welding illnesses be prevented?
Your employer has a duty to prevent welding illness from occurring. Employers are obliged to ensure that the area in which you are working is well ventilated, and to provide appropriate personal protective equipment. Organisations that employ welders are also responsible for conducting regular risk assessments in order to protect the safety of all staff, and prevent welding illnesses from developing.
Am I entitled to make a welding illness claim?
If you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, you will be able to claim compensation.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Claiming when you're partially at fault
Personal injury claims often involve circumstances where there is some degree of blame on each side.
We found that, in our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers were unsure as to which party was legally liable for their injuries.
If you believe you were partly responsible, you may still have a claim. If you were injured at work, you should be able to claim compensation from your employer even if your actions, or the actions of a colleague, contributed to your injury.
How long do I have to make a welding illness claim?
An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence but didn't realise it at the time, you may have longer to make a claim. Typically, you have three years from the date you either received a diagnosis or became aware of the negligence (known as the 'date of knowledge') to start your claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a welding illness?
To determine the compensation amount for your illness or health condition, two crucial factors are considered:
- the severity of the injury, and
- any financial losses or expenses incurred.
To calculate your total compensation, your solicitor will conduct a comprehensive assessment of how your illness has affected your life.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages refer to the compensation allocated for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Baseline compensation figures are determined by the Judicial College through their guidelines for personal injury awards.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your welding illness such as decontamination, medical monitoring, inhalers and psychological support.
How did your injury happen?
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your welding illness occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your industrial disease claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning industrial disease claims.
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee industrial disease claim, we are open:
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Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.