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Pneumoconiosis is a term used to describe a number of work-related lung diseases of a chronic nature. This includes asbestosis, berylliosis, byssinosis, coal worker’s black lung, kaolin pneumoconiosis, siderosis and silicosis. Such conditions are commonly known as industrial diseases. You may well be able to make a claim for pneumoconiosis compensation if it can be shown that your employer(s) have been negligent in their duty to protect you.
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What causes Pneumoconiosis?
People suffering from any form of pneumoconiosis have been exposed to the inhalation of dangerous particles. Pneumoconiosis will be caused by repeated inhalation of dust particles which are retained in the lungs. These particles will cause scarring and damage to the delicate tissues of the lung and will go on to present physical symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pains, persistent coughs and fatigue.
Almost any worker involved in the use of materials where dust can be present could be at risk of developing pneumoconiosis conditions, with the type depending on the material that has been inhaled.
Many dangerous materials are now widely recognised and workers are well trained in avoiding the risks. Perhaps the most commonly known is asbestos, which can lead to asbestosis, or mesothelioma. However, there are many lesser known forms of pneumoconiosis that can affect those working with other materials:
- Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) – inhalation of coal dust particles
- Byssinosis – vegetable fibres (such as flax, hemp, cotton dust or sisal)
- Siderosis (welder’s lung) – inhalation of iron/metal dust particles
- Silicosis – suffered by those working with materials such as silica (found in sandstone, sand, clay and granite, for example)
- Kaolin pneumoconiosis – kaolin dust inhalation (used in ceramics, paper, medicines and cosmetics)
- Berylliosis – beryllium dust inhalation
Whilst asbestosis is the most common form of pneumoconiosis, the next most common forms are coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) and silicosis.
Any workplace where hazardous materials are in use, or where there is a regular level of material dust, must ensure that their staff are provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as dust masks, and that ventilation and extraction equipment is in constant use.
Who can claim pneumoconiosis compensation?
If you have worked in an environment where dust particles are present and you have not been provided with any form of dust mask, ventilation or extraction and have developed any symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or persistent coughs, you may well be able to pursue a claim for pneumoconiosis compensation.
At Direct2Compensation, we have found that most pneumoconiosis claimants have worked in heavy industries such as manufacturing, construction, demolition, mining, shipbuilding and fabric and ceramic manufacturers.
Pneumoconiosis conditions usually take years to develop (commonly some 10 years or so from exposure to presentation of symptoms). Due to the development of health and safety equipment and more understanding of the risks of hazardous dust materials, current workers are usually very well protected. As a result, the majority of our pneumoconiosis claimants are older, often retired workers, who were not afforded the same level of personal protective equipment or employer awareness of the dangers of such materials.
How can I get a diagnosis of work-related pneumoconiosis?
If you have developed any of the associated pneumoconiosis symptoms, such as a persistent cough or shortness of breath, seeking expert medical treatment is vitally important. Apart from minimising the damage, a professional diagnosis of a pneumoconiosis condition can provide direct evidence of the cause – such as the person’s working life.
If you have not already seen your GP, our specialist pneumoconiosis solicitors can advise you in this regard and may well be able to help you to arrange a medical appointment. Here, your history can be discussed, including the nature of your work and the materials you used, as well as what, if any, health and safety precautions your employer provided.
UK law requires that any diagnosis of pneumoconiosis is notifiable to the employer responsible and this should also be brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The benefits of making a claim
Although any person suffering with work-related pneumoconiosis is eligible for disablement benefit, the successful outcome of a claim can allow the claimant to enjoy a better quality of life than they otherwise would be able to.
Sadly, the vast majority of pneumoconiosis conditions are irreversible and no amount of personal injury compensation can change this fact or fully remove the symptoms. However, at Direct2Compensation our specialist pneumoconiosis solicitors can help you to obtain a full compensation settlement and possible access to specialist rehabilitation therapies.
We will help you to understand your rights and our solicitors will ensure that you receive the maximum level of compensation available, as well as ensuring that any loss of income, whether past or present, is fully recovered.
At Direct2Compensation we pursue all claims, including those for any pneumoconiosis condition, on a No Win No Fee basis. Simply put, our claims process allows you to pursue your claim without any risk of having to pay any costs to any party should your claim fail.
What to do next
Our friendly team are ready and waiting to answer any question you have. Our expert staff can immediately identify your prospects should you wish to seek compensation and can then make sure that your details are passed to a specialist pneumoconiosis solicitor to pursue a No Win No Fee claim for you.