Compensation for Workers Affected by Lung Disease
Date online: 15/03/2011
A total of nearly £1 million in compensation has been awarded to a group of ex-employees of MG Rover who were exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace and developed occupational lung disease as a result.
The breathing problems were caused by metalworking fluids (MWFs) used in the engine building division at Rover’s Longbridge plant. The illness was first discovered in 2004 and was found to have affected 12 per cent of the staff. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the disease was caused by workers inhaling mist generated by machining operations in the plant. This was causing an allergic reaction in workers’ lungs as well as triggering occupational asthma. The outbreak of lung disease is thought to be the largest associated with MWFs in the world.
A claim was brought against the company on the ground that it had failed in its duty to protect its employees from the harmful effects of MWFs. It had neglected to maintain the fluids properly, thus allowing bacteria to accumulate and enter the factory atmosphere.
After a seven-year legal battle, the claim has now been settled out of court for a total sum of just under £1 million, with individual workers receiving between £500 and £180,000 depending on the severity of their injuries.
Employers who fail to control the use of substances that have the potential to harm the health of their employees risk being taken to court if someone suffers injury as a result. In this case, a failure to maintain the equipment properly, thereby minimising the inhalation risk, was responsible for pollution of the air inside the plant, causing permanent damage to the health of a large number of workers.
If you have suffered an injury or accident whilst at work then please contact us here at Molesworths Solicitors to find out whether you are entitled to compensation
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.