Legal Victory For HGV Driver Suffering With Industrial Illness After Dust Exposure

Expert Workplace Illness Lawyers Secure Admission From Former Employers

29.09.2015

A former HGV driver who suffers with a lung condition known as farmer’s lung has spoken of his relief at reaching the next step in his legal battle for justice after it was admitted by his employer that he was exposed to high levels of dust at work which went on to cause his illness.

Specialist workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell were instructed to investigate by Ian Gear, from Stafford, after he was diagnosed with alveolitis in September 2012.

The condition, also known as farmer’s lung, is caused by inhaling mould that grows on hay, straw and grain.

Ian worked as an animal feed delivery driver for Ed Weetman Limited from 2004 to 2012 at its Stone and Market Drayton depots. His role included driving a blower lorry to farms around the UK to deliver animal feed and grain.

He recalls the loading and unloading of the products to be extremely dusty but told lawyers that he was only provided with a basic paper mask by the company, which meant he was regularly exposed to large amounts of grain dust.

In June 2012 Ian, a father-of-two, began suffering with tightness in his chest and found he would often get out of breath.

Tests discovered that his lung capacity had been reduced to 52 per cent and doctors confirmed that the most likely cause of this was his exposure to grain dust during his employment.

Expert industrial illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have now secured an admission of liability from Ed Weetman Limited’s insurers.

Alex Shorey, an expert workplace illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Ian, said:

Expert Opinion
“Exposure to dust, chemicals and fumes in the workplace can cause a number of serious illnesses and diseases that have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of victims, such as Ian.

“We are delighted to have secured an admission of liability from the company’s insurers and we will now be looking to work with medical experts to ensure Ian is able to access the treatment he needs to help alleviate his symptoms and allow him to reduce the effects of the alveolitis he has been diagnosed with.”
Alex Shorey, Solicitor

Since Ian left Ed Weetman Limited in 2012 his condition has improved but doctors have told him his lung capacity will never return to 100 per cent and he will live with the effects of the condition for the rest of his life.

Ian, 53, said: “I’ve always been very fit and active and enjoyed using the gym and playing football with my two sons but for the last three years physical activity has been a real struggle for me as I become out of breath very easily.

“To find out my condition was caused by my exposure to grain dust while working was a real shock and the fact I was only ever provided with a basic face mask and never really warned of the dangers the dust posed to me just added insult to injury.

“I’m very relieved that the company’s insurers have now admitted a breach of duty and I can only hope that by taking legal action it will persuade Ed Weetman Limited to introduce better protection for staff and provide workers with guidance on the dangers posed by dust in the workplace.”