Organophosphate poisoning. Expert compensation claim advice.
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Home > Personal Injury > Industrial Diseases > Organophosphates poisoning claim

Organophosphates poisoning claim

Personal injury compensation claim advice

Used in numerous workplace environments and also to spray crops in the open, organophosphate compounds are the most commonly used pesticides and insecticides in the world. Sometimes referred to as OP, they have a variety of uses but are particularly effective in the use of flea treatments for animals, in sheep dips and on lawns and in gardens.

For more information on the effects of exposure to organophosphates and how Clear Answers may be able to help you bring a personal injury claim for compensation, please select one of the links below:

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Health risks posed by organophosphates

Although most organophosphate pesticides are insecticides, there are a number of compounds which are related, such as herbicides and fungicides, all of which are extremely toxic.

By targeting the brain and nervous systems, organophosphates are extremely effective in killing the offending pest. However, if not handled correctly, the organophosphates can also affect humans and other animals by preventing a key enzyme in the nervous system (cholinesterase) from working. This can lead to over-stimulated nerves and muscles, paralysis and other illnesses.

It is possible for exposure to occur during the application of the organophosphate, for example during harvesting and packing of crops, or whilst dipping sheep.

The effects of exposure to organophosphates will depend on many factors, including the type of chemical, but also its concentration and the length of time the person is exposed to it. The effects can also depend on the method of exposure. For example, it may be swallowed, or absorbed through the skin.

There are instances where employees are asked to work without being issued with the necessary protective clothing, or training about how to work with and handle organophosphates, even though they may be surrounded by them, or using them constantly.

Other instances of exposure have been experienced by members of the public coming into contact with organophosphates when crops have been sprayed close to their homes or places of work.

Where members of the public are exposed in instances of this type, it can be that there are many cases of compensation being claimed through the same exposure event. Often these cases can be grouped together to bring a multi-action claim, when a lead solicitor will be appointed.

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Symptoms and treatment of organophosphate poisoning

If swallowed, symptoms of exposure to organophosphates may develop very quickly and can be very serious. They may produce muscle weakness and even paralysis. They may also cause stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches, and in worse cases can cause respiratory failure, induce a coma, or even prove fatal.

Other symptoms of exposure may include insomnia, memory loss and anxiety, caused as a result of the organophosphate attack on the nervous system.

Some research has suggested that exposure to organophosphates at milder levels may lead to tiredness, insomnia, depression and irritability, or that it may affect mental function and performance. However, there is some dispute about the precise health effects of long-term (chronic) exposure.

If you have suffered an illness following exposure to organophosphates through contact with the skin, it is important that affected clothing should be removed as quickly as possible. The skin should be thoroughly washed and urgent medical assistance should be sought.

However the exposure occurs, treatment is usually aimed at reducing the symptoms and removing the poison. This can be done by giving either oxygen, or activated charcoal to treat the poisoning, although the success of any treatment may vary on the method of exposure.

Blood and urine tests can be used to confirm an exposure to organophosphates has occurred.

If you have been unfortunate enough to be exposed to, or come into contact with organophosphates, and acquire an illness as a result, you may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim for the pain and suffering you have endured.

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COSHH Regulations

Designed to protect all workers from exposure to chemicals and other substances in the workplace, detailed regulations have been put in place. These regulations are known as COSHH for short, The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. COSHH applies to any pesticide which meets the definition of a substance hazardous to health.

Specific regulations concerning the use of pesticides have also been designed to protect workers. These are The Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, known as COPR for short.

Employers have a duty to carry out risk assessments to establish what steps need to be taken to safeguard workers’ health. Where appropriate, the employer should eliminate, and failing that adequately control, the exposure at source and then introduce protective steps and provide gloves, goggles, respiratory protection and personal protective clothing as a final resort.

If you or someone you know has been injured or contracted an illness or industrial disease as a direct result of coming into contact with organophosphates, it is important that any evidence you may have which supports your exposure is retained. Always ensure that when you visit your GP or hospital for treatment, you mention the cause of your injury to your doctor.

In order to make a successful claim for compensation, it is not sufficient to show that you have been exposed to organophosphates, you must be able to prove that the person or organisation who allowed you to come into contact with the dangerous chemical, was negligent.

Also remember to retain evidence of any injury-related expenses such as receipts for prescriptions or medication and evidence of travelling expenses.

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Personal injury news stories

Clear Answers personal injury solicitors deal with a large number of industrial disease compensation claims each year, including those resulting from negligent exposure to hazardous substances such as organophosphates.

Please visit our personal injury news section to view details of these stories and other successful personal injury compensation claims that Clear Answers’ solicitors have been involved in.

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Making an organophosphate poisoning compensation claim

If you or a family member has been unlucky enough to develop an industrial disease through exposure to organophosphates, please contact Clear Answers’ lawyers. We are experts in all personal injury matters and will be able to advise you whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation.

Our specialist personal injury lawyers will be happy to talk you through the process of making a claim in plain English and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have.

There are strict time limits in place to make any personal injury claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a claim for personal injury compensation or visit our information and advice section for more details.

Please contact us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms, and a representative will contact you as soon as possible.

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