Asthma Sufferer Receives £20,000
A factory worker who developed asthma soon after being exposed to dangerous fumes has won £20,000 in compensation.
The unnamed 42-year-old woman from Gateshead worked in a factory which makes electric generators and motors for use in the aerospace industry. Her job involved soldering using a rosin-based solder wire for up to six hours a day. Inhalation of fumes from rosin contained in solder fluxes has previously been identified as a cause of occupational asthma.
After only a couple of weeks, she developed a dry cough, a wheezy chest, dry and itchy eyes and shortness of breath. She was eventually diagnosed with occupational asthma and is now restricted in the types of jobs she can do. Doctors say she will have the condition for the rest of her life.
The woman brought a claim against her former employer for unlawfully exposing her to the noxious fumes. Although she was carrying out the work in an enclosed space with inadequate ventilation, she was neither warned about the dangers of working with the potentially harmful substance nor given any training on its safe use.
Once court proceedings were started, the company admitted liability and agreed a settlement of £20,000 plus legal costs.
Employers have a duty to protect workers against potential dangers such as occupational asthma. Irritants such as dust or smoke as well as common foods like flour or grain can all cause asthma.
“There are many substances which can cause occupational illness over a period of time, even when the level of exposure is small,” says Dawn Humphries of Lanyon Bowdler. “If employers fail to take appropriate measures to prevent exposure to substances that can damage the health of employees, they can be liable to pay compensation for the resulting illnesses. If you have suffered ill health as a result of exposure to substances in your workplace, contact us for advice.”