Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

06 November 2017

What is COPD?

COPD is the name for a group of lung diseases including emphysema and bronchitis. Emphysema damages the actual lungs whereas bronchitis causes damage to the bronchial tubes.

What injuries can COPD cause?

COPD generally make it harder to breathe. It usually begins with coughing and shortness of breath although sufferers can also notice a tightness of the chest, frequent chest infections and wheezing. As the illness develops the breathing becomes increasingly more difficult. A lot of people don’t have any noticeable symptoms until they reach their late 40s or 50s as it develops slowly over many years.

Causes of COPD

COPD occurs when the lungs become inflamed, damaged and narrowed. The main cause of COPD is smoking although long term exposure to fumes, chemicals such as bleach, a variety of dust and particles can either cause the entire injury or exacerbate the injury. Substances that have been linked to COPD include cadmium dust and fumes, grain and flour dust, silica dust, welding fumes, isocyanates and coal dust. The exposure to these can be in a variety of occupations including as a welders, baker, cleaner or miners in fact any role that exposes a person to inhaling noxious substances can result in COPD.

Occupations with increased chance of getting COPD

The HSE have identified the following occupations that can lead to an increase in chance to getting COPD:

  • Agriculture – Farming;
  • Brick Making;
  • Cadmium – soldering;
  • Mining;
  • Construction;
  • Dock Workers;
  • Food Industries with exposure to flour and grain; 
  • Foundry Workers; 
  • Petroleum Workers;
  • Pottery / Ceramic Workers;
  • Quarry Workers;
  • Working with Rubber / Plastic;
  • Stonemasons;
  • Textile Workers;
  • Welders


It is only upon diagnosis of a condition that a person can be compensated. Somebody can be exposed to noxious substances for a period of time before any symptoms become apparent. If you are suffering symptoms the initial step would always be making an appointment with you GP and getting a diagnosis. This would rule out any other causes of the breathing problems.

Contact us

For further information about COPD, contact our team of specialist solicitors at Curtis Law Solicitors who have the experience, knowledge and understanding to bring a claim where you are compensated fairly and at the earliest, it is only what you deserve!