Our workplace illness solicitors negotiated a six-figure settlement for a man who got a serious respiratory illness at work.
Mike* worked as a machinist for CBL Ceramics Limited. His job was to work in the ‘Machine Shop’ using different types of machines to manufacture components for the electronic industry.
Mike used a grinding machine almost every day on a type of metal called beryllium. The constant grinding caused the release of small beryllium dust particles and fumes that Mike would inhale. Beryllium dust can cause breathlessness and permanent lung damage if you inhale it over long periods of time like Mike was doing.
Part of his job also involved using metalworking fluid as a lubricant for the machines. Metalworking fluid gives off a fine mist which can be damaging to the skin and lungs. Mike spent a lot of time inhaling these fumes while he worked.
In 2013, after 12 years of working at CBL Ceramics Limited, Mike developed an unexplained cough and breathlessness. These symptoms started to worsen with Mike becoming more and more breathless.
In 2015, Mike went on sick leave and his symptoms improved while he was away from work. When he returned to work a few months later his breathing started getting worse and his employers signed him off work again.
Mike also started getting a bad rash on his forearms and neck. These were areas that were exposed when he was at work using the machines. The rash seemed to clear when he was away from work, and then return again once he was back at work.
How We Helped
Mike contacted our solicitors to see if we could help him make a claim against his employers. His health was getting worse and he worried that he’d have to take longer periods off work to recover. This was a huge financial strain on him and his family.
Alex Shorey, a workplace illness expert, worked with Mike to make a claim against CBL Ceramics Limited.
Alex gathered evidence which included a medical report by an independent expert, Dr Moore-Gillon.
Dr Moore-Gillon examined Mike and said that he was suffering a condition called berylliosis. Berylliosis is a serious and debilitating lung disease and a form of beryllium poisoning.
Over the course of Mike’s 12 year employment, CBL Ceramics Limited didn’t consider the risks of exposure to beryllium. They also didn’t help Mike by encouraging him to wear protective equipment or offer support when he got sick. They expected him to continue to return to work, even though his symptoms got worse and worse.
Making A Claim
After Alex submitted Mike's claim, CBL Ceramics Limited wouldn’t admit responsibility, even though they admitted that they used harmful substances (including beryllium) in their manufacturing process. They also said that they went through a process of air monitoring which would’ve uncovered if there were any harmful fumes or dust in the air.
The claim was going to go to court before Alex and his team carefully negotiated a settlement of £115,000.
This compensation meant Mike could have some financial security if his illness got worse and it could pay for any medical treatment he may need.
Alex Shorey said “This was a tough case because the company would not admit responsibility, even though it was clear [Mike] got his symptoms at work. It’s really important for companies to make sure they comply with Health and Safety regulations and protect their workers.”
If you or a loved one have suffered from an illness you got at work, contact our solicitors today on 0370 1500 100.
*Not client’s real name
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