The North East has been forged from heavy industry, but it has come at a cost to the health of many workers.
Prolonged exposure to dusty environments has been a particular problem in industries such as mining, construction and shipbuilding.
At Browell Smith & Co, our team has expertise and experience in dealing with many different types of claims in this particularly problematical legal area.
Silicosis, Welders’ Lung (Siderosis of the lung), Kaolin Pneumoconiosis and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis are all conditions brought on by prolonged exposure to dust.
The Health and Safety Executive report that silica-related lung cancer cases as a consequence of silicosis have been estimated to cause 800 deaths per year.
Silicosis is an incurable lung disease which is caused by breathing in large amounts of dust containing respirable crystalline silica (RCS). While it normally occurs over a prolonged period of time, on rare occasions where exposure is particularly high, acute silicosis can develop quickly.
Silica is an extremely common substance, found in; stone, rock, sand, clay and numerous other materials. People who work with these materials, especially in a job that causes silica dust such as drilling, cutting, blasting and hammering, are most at risk of developing silicosis.
The disease occurs when dust from rocks or ceramics, containing crystalline silica, is inhaled into the lungs. When the dust comes into contact with the lining of the lungs it causes inflammation and eventually leads to a thickened, scarred lining within the lungs (called fibrosis). It also damages the tissues within the lungs, preventing them from functioning normally.
While at work you’re protected from harm under various health and safety regulations. These regulations require employers that have industrial environments in which stone dust is common to provide the following:
• Personal protective equipment
• Appropriate ventilation and extraction
• Risk assessments to gauge whether the environment is potentially harmful
• Training to ensure safety procedures are followed
Silicosis often does not develop until may years after you would have been expose sometimes the condition can take up to 30 years to develop. Many of our clients were unaware that the powders and dusts which they were exposed to contained silica.
If you have been diagnosed with silicosis and think it could have been caused by your work, our legal team can guide you through the claims process. It is often still possible to claim even if the company you worked for is no longer trading.
At Browell Smith & Co, our expert lawyers have years of experience in handling claims for silicosis sufferers, getting great results for our clients time after time.
As with all claims for personal injury compensation there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the Court.
For accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident.
For occupational disease cases Court proceedings must be started within three years from the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you may be suffering from a condition which has been caused by a third party. This may be your employer or it could be another organisation with whom you worked or who operated a premises close by.
In the event that court proceedings are not started within three years from the relevant date, the negligent party may be able to escape paying compensation on the basis that your claim is out of time.
The law surrounding the time limits for industrial disease compensation is extremely complex and issues will differ from case to case, particularly when seeking compensation on behalf of a former family member. It is not always necessary to have a firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence. In these circumstances you seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.
The Browell Smith & Co app is the perfect app to have on your phone in case you have been the victim of a personal injury.