A former County Durham stone mason received a substantial settlement with the help of our expert workplace illness lawyers after developing silicosis at work.
The man, who worked at Three Quarries, for a number of employers, used a variety of tools, including stone mallets, chisels, grinders, and hammers, that created large amounts of silica dust throughout the day. Breathing in this dust over 15 years resulted in breathlessness when he exerted himself and a diagnosis of the lung disease.
But that’s not the end of the story. His silicosis may continue to get worse, and the silica exposure has also left him at risk of developing other diseases in the future. These include massive fibrosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, renal disease and connective tissue disease.
He was forced to leave his job to avoid breathing in more dust, and retrained as an HGV driver.
Our legal experts investigated the case, obtaining supportive evidence from former colleagues and a report from a consulting engineer. The report was critical of the employers’ systems of work, and their failure to take effective precautions and provide adequate PPE. These were supported by documents from the HSE, who had carried out inspections at one of the employers and issued notices against them. The case settled shortly before trial.
The settlement covers the man's expenses (including loss of wages and the cost of retraining) and provides compensation for his condition on the basis that is doesn't significantly worsen. If it does worsen, he'll be awarded further compensation.
Roger Maddocks, a specialist in injury at work and occupational illness with over 35 years’ experience, handled the case. He said: “Silicosis is a very serious and incurable illness, which can lead to life-threatening conditions.
“These workplaces can be incredibly dusty. Without adequate protection or warnings about possible impacts on their health, employees have often had no option but to breathe in the dangerous substance.
“We’re delighted to have secured this settlement, and hope it can provide security and stability for him and his family.”
If you or a loved one has developed illness as a result of employment and you’d like to speak to one of our advisers, please contact us online or call 0370 1500 100.
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