Getting Compensation for Silicosis

X-ray image in doctors’ hand

An increasing number of workers around Australia are being diagnosed with silicosis. The disease is making a resurgence due to the popularity of engineered stone products such as kitchen and bathroom benchtops and tiles. This makes it essential to ensure there is an appropriate level of awareness and safety measures in place at home and in workplaces.

Anyone who is regularly exposed to silica dust should be informed about the risks and their potential rights to compensation if their exposure to silica dust occurs as part of their employment. If you suffer from silicosis-related lung disease due to exposure in the workplace, speak to an experienced compensation lawyer to discuss your legal options.

What is Silicosis?

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny particles of silica dust. Silica dust is a mineral found in a variety of materials including sand, stone, plaster, concrete, drywall, granite, quartz and brick. The disease causes scarring, swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs, impacting a person’s ability to breathe.

There are three types of silicosis:

  • Acute – occurring within a few weeks to years of exposure to inhaled silica
  • Chronic – appearing after 10 to 30 years of exposure, causing extreme scarring
  • Accelerated – occurring within 10 years of intense exposure

Silicosis increases the risk of tuberculosis and respiratory failure and can be fatal. Progressive massive fibrosis may occur when nodules begin to join together, causing a significant disability to the lungs and the inability for a person to breathe. Research has also linked silicosis to emphysema, lung cancer and some autoimmune diseases.

What Should You Do if Exposed to Silica Dust?

If you’ve been exposed to silica dust, you should visit a doctor to rule out any damage already caused. Preventative measures should be taken to avoid further exposure to silica dust, including wearing a protective mask, suppressing dust with water application practices and using the right exhaust ventilation and extraction hoods.

If you are diagnosed with silicosis, you should take steps to notify and make a claim through your employer’s workers compensation insurer as soon as possible. Ensure your diagnosis and symptoms are recorded at an early stage so your condition can be monitored and related expenses can be claimed.

Need Advice for a Worker’s Compensation in Queensland?

If you have developed silicosis due to exposure in the workplace, you should contact an experienced compensation lawyer to evaluate your case and determine whether you are eligible for compensation. The process of making a claim is complex and time consuming, so it is ideal to act quickly.

If you need a qualified lawyer in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, get in touch with the team at Dwyer Law Group. We have more than 30 years of experience dealing with a variety of claims for compensation. Contact us online or call us on 07 5610 5277 and ask about our ‘No Win, No Fee’ policy.

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