A man who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to wood dust at work has been awarded legal protection for the rest of his life.
Our client, 63, was diagnosed with nasal cancer in August 2010 after being exposed to significant amounts of wood dust during his time as an employee in a paper and wood mill.
The man was required to give up his job as a self-employed painter and decorator to focus on his treatment and recovery. He had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was unable to eat which led him to lose a great deal of weight.
The treatment also had an impact on his daily life. His wife had to provide him with around the clock care at home throughout his recovery.
Our industrial disease experts were asked to look into the man’s exposure to wood dust while he was working at Stora Enso Newton Kyme Limited from 1973 until 2002. The man wanted to discover whether the exposure was the cause of his cancer.
During his employment he undertook a number of roles including driving forklift trucks, cutting card and wood, drying cardboard, the foreman in the joiners’ shop and as the finishing room manager. Each of these roles involved our client coming into contact with large quantities of dust.
However, during his time at the mill, employees were not provided with masks to prevent them inhaling the dust. Furthermore the extraction systems in place would only remove a small amount of dust from the atmosphere.
The man has had a traumatic time though illness, he initially responded well to treatment and was told that he was in in remission in April 2011. However, the cancer returned in February 2014. Our client had to have his lymph glands removed at the right side of his neck as well as another course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Our team were handling the case before the second diagnosis and therefor had to halt proceedings. Fortunately, our client found out in February 2015 that the cancer had been successfully treated and we could therefore continue with his claim.
We managed to secure funds to assist our client with his recovery and rehabilitation from the cancer but to also ensure that if the cancer does return a third time, he has the necessary protection to be about to return to court. The compensation will also help our client and his wife put this experience behind them and help them to look forward to a happy retirement together.
Ian Bailey, a specialist industrial disease solicitor who represented the client said: “We are delighted to have secured a settlement for him as he and his wife have been through so much in the last five years and it will give them some security as he battles back from his second fight against cancer.
“Many people are unaware of the danger of wood dust exposure in the workplace over a prolonged period of time. In this case our client and his colleagues were not given the protection they required, which may have prevented him for inhaling all the dust over the 30 years he worked in the mill.
“Hopefully, even though this is a rare form of cancer, this case will continue to remind employers of the need to provide workers with the protective equipment they require and it’s important that work in all environments is properly risk assessed.”
Our client described his experience of cancer as a “nightmare” but is thankful for Irwin Mitchell’s help. He said: “Irwin Mitchell has now secured us a settlement from my former employers and more importantly legal protection for the future in the event that the cancer does reoccur. However, my wife and I are both hopeful that is does not.
“I am still recovering from the treatment that I underwent and I hope that we can both start to get our lives back on track soon.”
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