What are the Harmful Effects?
The harmful effects will depend entirely upon the severity and type of contamination. Ill effects on health can occur through either direct contact or inhalation of vaporised soil contaminants. Chronic exposure to chromium, lead and other heavy metals, petroleum, solvents and pesticides can be carcinogenic, can cause congenital disorders, or can cause other chronic health conditions. Industrial or man-made concentrations of naturally occurring substances, such as nitrate and ammonia associated with livestock manure from agricultural operations, have also been identified as health hazards in soil. Other harmful effects include kidney damage, liver toxicity, depression of the central nervous system; and more commonly headache, nausea, fatigue, eye irritationand skin rash and even death by exposure via direct contact, inhalation or ingestion.
How Does it Happen?
Soil contamination is more commonly found on sites that were industrialised prior to 1960, where coal ash, sewage and other substances were dumped. Nowadays, spillages and improper disposal techniques tend to be the cause of soil contamination. These are often due to negligence on the part of the company handling the substance and so where employees or the public fall ill, they may be eligible to make a contaminated soil claim. Where the danger is posed by old industrial practices, employees and the public should be warned and people on site should be issued with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); where the risks are known but no protective measures are taken, the employer or site owner will be at fault.
What if I’ve Fallen Ill as a Result?
Most importantly, you should speak to a doctor or your GP if you haven’t already. Particularly dangerous chemicals may cause skin irritation or dermatitis, but where any symptoms present you should seek medical advice. Where testing indicates hazardous substance exposure due to contact with contaminated soil, you should seek legal advice. Where the negligence of a third party can be proven, you can make a claim for compensation.
All employers have a duty of care to their staff and to the public. So where their actions have a detrimental effect on people, they will have been negligent in their duty and so they will then become liable for any soil contamination claims brought against them. Employer responsibilities for the control and disposal of hazardous substances are clearly outlined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations 2002. So where they breach these guidelines they are breaking the law.
If you do decide to make a claim for contaminated soil compensation, you will need to act quickly. There are time limits in place for making claims of this kind, so you will need to seek legal advice as soon as you suspect that an employer or a company’s negligence has had an negative impact on your health.
As soon as you involve us, our expert hazardous substance solicitors will be able to determine whether or not you have a valid claim. Where a claim can be made, they will work diligently to identify the sources of exposure so that we can warn the authorities and prevent others from falling ill. Where soil contamination can be linked with your health problems, we can begin to establish a convincing soil contamination claim that will compensate you for any suffering sustained.
Our Hazardous Substances Experience
If we find that a third party has been negligent in their responsibilities to protect you from hazardous substance exposure, we can investigate. We will meticulously examine every aspect of your situation, from assessing health and safety practices at the employer or company’s premises, to examining medical records. In doing this we can collect all the required evidence to build a compelling case.
As part of our investigation we will assess the present impact on your health and your life, examining any possible long-term consequences whether physical, emotional or financial; so that we can assess any future needs or expenses. By working in this way we can work to acquire a compensation award that fairly reflects the damage and undue suffering that you have had to bear.
We pride ourselves on our provision of first-class legal advice and support. Our team of serious injury specialists have a wealth of expertise and knowledge that you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.