UK workers suffering occupational cancer and other potentially lethal work-related diseases can forget about any government compensation, according to a new report by University of Stirling health researchers.
The report found the current compensation scheme excludes seven of the top ten entries on the official UK occupational cancer priorities ranking. Diesel exhaust or painting-related lung or bladder cancer are not on the prescribed disease list, nor is welding-related lung cancer. Skin cancer caused by solar radiation exposure, a known problem in outdoor workers and pilots, is also missing.
Women almost entirely miss out, with breast cancer caused by shiftwork – estimated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to affect around 2,000 women each year – omitted from the list of ‘prescribed’ industrial diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is payable.
Professor Andrew Watterson, head of the university’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, said: “The UK government’s workplace compensation scheme requires urgent reform. It is an unholy mess with only a tiny proportion of those made sick by their work in with a sniff of any compensation. The Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme excludes many conditions and those that are covered tend to be subject to claim-barring disability thresholds, minimum exposure times and job restrictions.”
Mean test, Hazards magazine, number 129, 2015.