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Compensation For Former Coke Oven Worker With Reduced Life Expectancy

Our Industrial Disease lawyers have secured five-figure compensation for a man with a reduced life expectancy due to exposure to coke oven emissions at work.

Mr Rodgers worked for Smithywood coking plant in Sheffield for 17 years, until he was made redundant in 1986. While in this job, he worked on various parts of the coke ovens and inhaled harmful emissions. His first symptoms started in 1969, and it was deemed he was suffering from bronchitis. However, it wasn’t until 1997 that he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a name given to a group of lung conditions that make breathing difficult.

During his time at Smithywood coking plant, Mr Rodgers was regularly exposed to the harmful dust that was a by-product of burning coke furnaces. His employers failed to provide him with any safety equipment. Even when the company did eventually introduce respiratory protection equipment in the late 1980s, they were only made available to a small number of workers, and Mr Rodgers was not one of them.

After being made redundant by the coking plant, Mr Rodgers took up a job in a local bakery. However, this was only for a short period of time, as he ended up being signed off as ‘unfit for work’ due to his breathing difficulties. As a result of his condition, he has also been unable to find any other work since.

Chronic bronchitis and COPD have both severely affected Mr Rodger’s quality of life, as well as his overall life expectancy. He always enjoyed taking his Jack Russell, Pip, for walks – however, now he has to stop 2-3 times during the 250 yard walk to the local playing field. He also used to be an avid gardener, growing vegetables at home, but since his diagnosis he has only been able to manage a very small patch.

Mr Rodgers contacted us in November 2012, after seeing some information in the press about Irwin Mitchell and coking plants. Specialist disease solicitors Chelsea Towner and David Johnson-Keay represented Mr Rodgers along with a number of his former colleagues. Six years later, we secured him £32,500 in compensation.

David Johnson-Keay said: ‘This settlement will compensate Mr Rodgers for the financial losses that he has suffered and it is hoped that it will assist him in the future, to cope with his life-changing respiratory disease.

We represent a number of clients who have been exposed to dust and fumes at work and we aim to investigate the cause of their condition, as well as help them recover damages. This ensures that they can manage their condition as best they can without having to worry about the financial implications that have inevitably been caused.”

If you or a loved one have developed a disease as a result of your workplace conditions, our Industrial Disease lawyers may be able to help you. Visit our Industrial Disease claims page for more information.

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