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Woman Makes Successful Claim Against Employer For Developing Occupational Asthma And Rhinitis At Work

Our Birmingham personal injury solicitors helped secure a settlement for a woman suffering from occupational asthma and rhinitis from exposure to wood dust at work.

The Cause Of The Illness

Our client, Jessica*, started working for Mereway Kitchens Limited in 2010 in their sanding room. The company specialises in manufacturing kitchen fittings for major retailers. Jessica had to sand down large kitchen panels as part of the production process.

At the time, all the sanding was done by hand, leaving a large amount of wood dust circulating in the room. This meant Jessica was inhaling wood dust five days a week with regular overtime shifts.

The sanding room was next-door to the company’s paint spray room. This meant Jessica also inhaled paint fumes. At the end of each day, Jessica needed to clean up the wood dust with a hand-held broom. This only recirculated the dust into the room, making her inhale more.

Jessica worked in the sanding room until 2016. During this time, she didn’t have any protective gear and didn’t receive health and safety training. She repeatedly raised this with her manager but they didn’t address her concerns.

Jessica developed a cough in 2014 which she thought was a chest infection. She also started having problems with her nose. Jessica went to a number of specialists and in 2016 she was diagnosed with occupational asthma and rhinitis. By this time she wasn’t working in the sanding room, so her symptoms improved but she still had permanent damage to her lungs.

Before her illness, Jessica was active and regularly played badminton and squash. She also shared household chores with her husband. Her asthma meant she couldn’t carry on doing these activities.

How We Helped

Jessica contacted out occupational illness team in Birmingham to help her claim against Mereway. Jessica felt her illness put her at a disadvantage for future job opportunities because she became out of breath and tired easily.

Our solicitors, led by Alex Shorey, gathered Jessica’s medical and employment records to investigate the claim. We also had a medical expert assess Jessica’s health. The medical expert stated that Jessica had a 10-15% disability and her health was unlikely to improve in future.

This evidence helped us claim for a Blamire/Smith award. This award allows a person to receive a lump sum if they suffer future loss of earnings and are at a disadvantage for earning potential.

Mereway also gathered medical evidence to prove try and prove that Jessica’s illness was just early onset of adult asthma. Before the claim went to court, Mereway admitted responsibility and offered a settlement of £20,000.

We negotiated a settlement of £32,000 for Jessica and Mereway accepted the sum. This was a significant increase to their original offer. Jessica was relieved that she could use the sum to help with her recovery and future medical needs.

“The result is fantastic for [Jessica]. This type of illness can be very frustrating and it’s a shame she didn’t get any protection while working in the sanding room. We’re really pleased we could help her.” – Alex Shorey, personal injury solicitor

If you or a loved one suffer from an illness or injury from work, contact our team on 0370 1500 100 or fill in our online form and we’ll discuss your situation.

*Not her real name

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