A range of respiratory diseases can be caused by exposures in the workplace including diseases which are very serious – such as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which may often be fatal.
The latest information shows:
There are currently approximately 12,000 deaths each year due to occupational respiratory diseases, about two-thirds of which were due to asbestos-related diseases or COPD.
These are long latency diseases (they take a long time to develop following exposure to the agent that caused them) therefore current deaths reflect the effect of past working conditions.
About 36,000 people who have worked in the last year, and 141,000 who had ever worked currently have breathing or lung problems they thought were caused or made worse by work (LFS).
There are currently an estimated 14,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year (LFS).