Oakwood Solicitors

Occupational Bladder Cancer

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What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is where a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, develops in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumor spreads into the bladder muscle.

Once a diagnosis of bladder cancer has been made, it will be classified depending on how far it has spread. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, this is known as advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.

  • 10,000 people are affected each year.
  • It is the tenth most common cancer in the UK.
  • Only half of people diagnosed will die.
  • 1 in 39 men and 1 in 110 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in their lifetime. The reason for this may be because more men have smoked or been exposed to chemicals.
  • People over the age of 60 are more likely to be diagnosed.

What are the symptoms?

A common symptom of bladder cancer is noticeable streaks of blood within the urine. This may not be noticeable all the time. If you notice any blood within your urine, you should attend your GP to discuss.

Other symptoms that can be noticed are needing to urinate on a more frequent basis and/or having a constant urge to urinate. You may also have a burning sensation when urinating. If the cancer spreads, you may suffer from pelvic or bone pain.


The exact cause of bladder cancer is not fully appreciated. Some explanations of the cause are:

  • Smoking – The chemicals from the tobacco pass into the bloodstream and then are passed into the urine. As the urine is stored in the bladder it damages the cells. It caused a third of all cases.
  • Exposure to industrial workplace chemicals – From chemicals such as aniline dyes, Xenylamine, benzidone.

Those people affected are in industry and manufacturing jobs including the use of:

  • Dyes
  • Textiles
  •  Paints
  • Rubbers
  • Leather tanning
  • Plastics

A group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS) increase the risk of bladder cancer. You may have been exposed to them if you have worked in:

  • Industries where people handle carbon or crude oil, or substances made from them.
  • Any industry involving combustion, such as smelting.

Some non-manufacturing jobs have also been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. These include:

  • Bus and taxi drivers and railroad workers.
  • Metal casters, machine setters and operators.
  • Leather workers.
  • Blacksmiths.
  • Hairdressers.
  • Mechanics.
  • Miners.
  • Painters.

As well as making a civil claim if you have been exposed to these chemicals at work, you may be able to claim an allowance from the government. This is called an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

  • Although the laws have changed in these industries, it can still take over thirty years before the cancers display their symptoms.
  • Previous cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Long-term bladder stones.
  • Diabetes.

Bladder cancer can be prevented by stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

How do I make a claim?

If you have read the above and feel that you may be suffering from bladder cancer as a direct consequence of work exposure, call us to speak to our dedicated Industrial Disease team, who can give you free advice on whether you are eligible to make a claim.

In order to run the majority of personal injury claims, you have to start a claim within three years of the injury. However, with these type of claims it may be that the diagnosis was many years (sometimes decades) after exposure, and the question of limitation will need to be discussed in detail with a legal advisor. We will be able to discuss this with you.

We are of the belief that it is better to get peace of mind by checking if you have a claim, rather than letting time run out and never knowing.

For an Occupational Bladder Cancer claim, the three-year limitation will normally start ticking when the court finds that you linked (or when you should have linked) the problems with your occupation. We would strongly recommend that legal advice is taken on this, as for each case the limitation question will be decided on the merits of the claim.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing these types of claims, they can often take 18-36 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols, before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

What is the duty of my Employer to protect my health?

Generally, there is no difficulty in establishing that a duty of care was owed to you by your employer. An employer has a common law duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of employees. This is not an absolute duty, but a duty is to take reasonable care. There are no obligations to provide a competent staff of workers, adequate material, a proper system of work and effective supervision. The duties are often stated as being the duty to provide a safe place of work and a safe system of work.

Further to the common law duties, there are also duties set down by statute that an employer will have to comply with. Some of these statutory duties are set down below:

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

  • General Duty on employers to ensure the safety, health, and welfare at work of their employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

  • General duty to undertake a risk assessment (Reg 3).
  • Requirement to undertake health surveillance (Reg 6).

Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998

  • Ensure work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, and in good repair.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

  • Ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided (Reg 4).
  • Ensure an assessment of any personal protective equipment is undertaken, to determine whether it is suitable.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health ( 1988,1994,1999 & 2002)

  • It may be necessary to rely upon the provisions of all four (or perhaps earlier) sets of the regulations, depending on the dates of exposure to hazardous substances.
  • The 1988 regulations applied from 1st October 1989. The 1994 regulations made minor alterations to the 1988 regulations, and applied from the 16th of January 1995.
  • The 1999 regulations came into force on the 25th of March 1999, and were replaced by the 2002 regulations on the 21st of November 2002

Commentary on the most current provisions of the 2002 regulations are as follows:

  • Required to assess health risks where work is liable to expose employees to substances hazardous to health (Reg 6).
  • Ensure exposure to substances hazardous to health is either prevented, or where this is not reasonably practicable – adequately controlled (Reg 7).
  • Ensure any employee expose to substances hazardous to health is monitored and under suitable health surveillance (Reg 11).

How much is my claim worth?

Firstly, we will pursue compensation known as general damages. This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.

General damages are awards that are made for pain, suffering and loss of amenity of life. Loss of amenity means the ability to complete activities, either temporarily or permanently. This is an award that is designed to compensate you for the actual injuries suffered, and the effect those have had on your quality of life.

In regards to claims for occupational cancer, the court will be largely guided by the Judicial Guidelines. As a rough guide and on consideration of the JSB Guidelines for general damages, an award for bladder cancer for general damages could fall between £50,000 – £100,000.

Secondly, we will pursue compensation known as special damages. This is an award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, medication costs, loss of earnings (past and future) and treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

Why use Oakwood Solicitors to make your Industrial Disease case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Clinical Negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms they don’t understand, and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

Will I lose my job if I make a claim against my Employer?

If you are still working for the Defendants, they cannot dismiss you for making or proposing to make a claim. If your employer attempts to do so then you are likely able to make a successful claim for unfair dismissal. In our experience, the majority of employers understand their duties owed to you and the right you have to pursue a claim if this duty is breached.

In the majority of matters, the claim will normally be transferred from the Defendants directly to their insurers, and it will be the insurers who will deal with the Defending of the action.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Industrial Disease cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained, the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Charities/Useful Websites:

Action Bladder Cancer
Pelican Cancer
Fight Bladder Cancer


If you believe your Bladder Cancer diagnosis is work-related, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Meet the Head of Department

Tim Fieldhouse

Solicitor and Head of Industrial Disease

0113 200 9765

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