Around 250 UK Border Control staff are seeking industrial disease compensation from the government after claiming their new uniforms caused them to develop skin conditions.
The polyester and polycotton uniforms cost £3 million to produce and were given to almost 8,000 staff in March. However, since then many workers have reported issues including chemical-style burns and rashes. Some have also blamed breathing problems such as asthma on the smell given off by the material.
ISU trade union general secretary Lucy Moreton said that some of their 5,000 members had been prescribed strong steroids to combat their skin problems, while others had begun wearing protective clothing under their uniform to avoid coming into contact with the material.
She added that some workers had been told they would experience lifelong hypo-allergenic sensitivity, and blamed the problems on the “rush job” production of the uniforms.
The Home Office defended the new uniforms, saying: “The material used for our uniforms has been subject to rigorous independent testing, but we are aware a small number of staff have reported some irritation.”
They added that anyone experiencing problems should speak to their line manager.
Making an industrial disease claim
Every employer has a responsibility to protect staff from industrial diseases, from skin complaints to repetitive strain injuries.
They must have systems in place to ensure employees have a safe work environment, while the appropriate protective equipment must be provided.
While in the above case the problems have become apparent straight away, in some cases it can take years for the symptoms of an industrial disease to appear.
If you feel you have developed a medical condition because of your job, speak to the team at Croftons Solicitors on 0800 2800 094 and find out how we could help you with a compensation claim.