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Satinder Bains, from Irwin Mitchell's Birmingham office, successfully concluded a claim for a client diagnosed with occupational asthma, securing £20,000 in compensation.
Mr S, 62 from Wolverhampton, worked as a shot blaster in a paint shop. As a shot blaster, he was required to clean sheets of steel and the interior and exterior of steel tankers. The work was repetitious and required Mr S to use a heavy shot blasting pipe. One pipe would blast out iron filings from the nozzle with the second pipe starting and stopping the shot blasting process.
During the course of this cleaning process, a great deal of dust and dirt would linger in the air, to the extent that on occasions Mr S couldn’t see more than two inches in front of himself. This was made worse by the fact that there was little to no ventilation in the paint shop. It meant that without respiratory equipment, Mr S was breathing in the dust throughout the course of his shift.
This resulted in Mr S’s asthma worsening. He noticed a deterioration in his breathing, especially when he was cleaning up after shot blasting the interior of a tank. Unfortunately, air fed respirators were introduced far too late, when the damage had already been done.
Medical evidence proved that Mr S’s symptoms had been severely aggravated. This left him 20 per cent disabled.
Mr S commented: ‘The company provided no medical assessments to their employees, and did not provide me with the necessary respiratory equipment until it was too late. Instead I worked in a dark and dirty environment which was both highly unpleasant and also extremely bad for my health.’
His compensation was secured by industrial disease specialist Satinder Bains of the workplace illness team at the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell.
Commenting on the award, Satinder Bains said: “Occupational asthma can be a particularly debilitating condition. Such symptoms can often be work related and are most commonly seen when employers have failed to ensure sufficient steps have been taken to keep the working environment as safe as possible.
“This case highlights the importance of health and safety policies. Employers have a duty of care to their staff, which includes ensuring that where they carry out work which exposes them to excessive levels of dust and fumes, a full risk assessment is carried out and both the correct equipment and training are also provided. With proper precautions Mr S’s symptoms could have been avoided.”
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.
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