Former Stone Mason In Battle For Justice After Silicosis Diagnosis

Dad-Of-Three Appeals To Former Colleagues To Help Investigation

11.03.2015

A former stone mason who has been left devastated after being diagnosed with an incurable occupational lung disease is appealing for his ex-colleagues to come forward with information about the working practices at his former employers. 

Christopher Jones, from Sowerby Bridge in Halifax, was diagnosed with Silicosis in 2013 following a year of suffering from breathlessness, which is linked to exposure to silica dust and causes serious breathing difficulties.

Chris worked as a stone mason at various companies throughout his career and recalls excessive levels of silica dust whilst working at:
• Woodhead Monumental Masons in Rugby between 1984 -1988;
• John Laing Construction Limited in 1988 -1994;
• Pawsons Quarries in Morley in 1995;
• Dave Smith Stone Sales in Horbury in 1996 – 2002;
• Smith Stone Sales in 2002 onwards

Chris can recall regularly being exposed to high levels of silica dust whilst working at these companies as a result of the stone masonry work that he and others working in the vicinity were undertaking. 

The father-of-three has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell and together they are appealing for Chris’ ex-colleagues to come forward with information about the working conditions at the companies and also employer’s liability insurance information for Woodhead Monumental Masons in Rugby. 

The 50-year-old used to create beautiful stone work such as feature fireplaces and undertake restoration works to historical buildings such as Blackpool Town Hall, Chirk Castle in Wales and theatres and churches across the country.  However, he has now been advised by healthcare professionals to not return to work in the stone industry as his condition will progress.

Nicola Handley, an industrial disease expert from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Silicosis is a serious illness which can be very distressing for victims like Chris and their families.  Silicosis is incurable and it can often develop to leave victims unable to carry out many day to day tasks.
  
“Chris wasn’t given any adequate protective equipment or warned about the dangers of working with silica during his career.  It is awful that he is now ill simply because he went to work every day.  

“We hope to speak to as many of his ex-colleagues as possible to learn more about the working conditions that Chris was required to work in.  We are also keen to speak to anyone who may know information about who provided Woodhead Monumental Masons and Pawsons Quarries with employer’s liability insurance cover, so we can get Chris the justice he deserves.

“We are also keen to talk to any of Chris’ former colleagues who worked with him at John Laing Construction Limited at various sites in England including several of those detailed above.”

Chris first realised that he was seriously ill when he started to have breathing problems in 2012.  He underwent several investigations before he was diagnosed with the serious condition. 

Chris said: “I enjoyed working as a stone mason and now cannot imagine doing anything else.  Regrettably, many of the sites that I worked at were incredibly dirty and dusty and I got covered in dust every day. I couldn’t help but breathe it in.  I was never warned about how dangerous silica dust could be for my health or given a mask to wear to protect me from the worst of it. 

“It’s absolutely devastating to think that I could be suffering from this terrible illness simply because I went to work every day. I hope my ex work mates will come forward with information about the working conditions I endured and who the companies insurance company is so that I can get answers to the many questions I have and get the justice I deserve before it’s too late.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at the companies listed above should contact Nicola Handley on 0113 220 6233 or email nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has suffered from respiratory problems - such as occupational asthma or silicosis - caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.