Cancer Compensation Claims

The Health and Safety Executive report (2007) estimated that the proportion of cancer deaths in 2004 attributable to occupation was 8.0% in men and 1.5% in women with an overall estimate of 4.9% for men plus women. Many workers were potentially exposed to specific carcinogens (cancer causing agents) during their employment history, particularly those workers employed in the:

  • Paint production industry
  • Construction industry
  • Manufacture of wood products
  • Petroleum industry
  • Leather processing industry
  • Agricultural / farming industry
  • Textile industry
  • Rubber manufacturing industry
  • Printing industry
  • Aerospace and metal industries

HSE reported that asbestos contributed the largest numbers of deaths and registrations (mesothelioma and lung cancer), followed by mineral oils (mainly NMSC), solar radiation (NMSC), silica (lung cancer) and diesel engine exhaust (lung and bladder cancer). Other occupational carcinogens include arsenic and related chemicals, benzene, benzidine and cadmium dyes, beryllium and related chemicals, chromium pigments, various organic solvents and some fertilisers and pesticides.

Exposure to these chemicals are less of a problem now in the UK as the most dangerous chemicals have been banned for several decades. However cancer can take as long as 25+ years to develop so some people may have an increased risk of cancer because they were previously exposed to these chemicals at work prior to the introduction of these regulations.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to chemicals in the workplace you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Bladder Cancer

Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is the most common type of cancer in the UK and starts in the layer of cells that forms the lining of the bladder. Other less common types of bladder cancer include squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and adenocarcinomas. Bladder cancer was one of the first cancers shown to be industrially associated and it is estimated that between 5 and 10% of male bladder cancer cases in Europe are caused by occupational exposure.

In certain industries active carcinogens (cancer- causing substances) such as arylamines (including aniline dye, 2-Naphthylamine, 4-Aminobiphenyl, Xenylamine and Benzidine) and azo dyes , amines, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were used and these are known to cause bladder cancer.

Employees with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer include those who have worked in dye factories, rubber, gasworks, plastics, leather treating plants, the tyre making industry, painting, the printing industry and other chemical industries.

Skin Cancer (SCCs)

Skin cancers can be divided into melanomas and non melanoma skin cancers with the later group including squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin. The risk of developing a squamous cell carcinoma is higher in those workers exposed to petroleum derivatives, coal tar, arsenicals and radiation during their employment history.

Cancer of the Nose and Sinuses

Wood and leather dust are the main carcinogens for nasal cancers alongside exposure to chlorophenols and formaldehyde. The risk of developing a nasal cancer is greater in workers previously employed in the furniture and wood product industries, the leather processing industry and footwear and leather goods manufacturing.

Lung Cancer (excluding mesothelioma)

Exposure to asbestos, silica and diesel engine exhaust are the main contributing carcinogens to occupational related lung cancer. Other carcinogens include exposure to radiation (e.g. uranium and radon), arsenicals and various metals including nickel, chromium, iron oxide. Occupational groups most at risk to developing lung cancer include welders, painters, construction workers, transport equipment and machine manufacturers, metal workers and sheep dip workers.


Exposure to electromagnetic fields in occupations associated with the electrical industry have been shown to increase the risk of developing leukaemia. In addition, exposure to non-arsenical pesticides (often used in agricultural industry) and formaldehyde and benzene (used in retail trade industries) are also contributing carcinogens.

Claiming compensation for Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 3 years you may be able to make a claim for compensation. The success of the claim may depend on whether the companies where the exposure occurred are liable by not providing protective clothing or equipment, or by not properly enforcing the necessary measures to prevent exposure.

The success of the claim may also depend on whether the companies where the exposure occurred are still in existence. If you are not sure, don't worry; it could be that the company was taken over, or that the insurers of the company still exist. In either case we will find out on your behalf as part of the service.

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