Silica dust is present in many forms of rock such as granite, slate and sandstone and can cause damage to the lungs if breathed in over long periods of time. Crystalline silica dust exposure can cause a condition known as silicosis which results in the thickening and scarring of lung tissue. It has also been linked to the development of lung cancer. Early symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and a tight feeling in the chest but, as the condition progresses, blood may be coughed up and patients may suffer weight loss. Inhalation of relatively small concentrations of the particles can still cause silicosis, but it can take 10 to 15 years of exposure before symptoms manifest. Acute silicosis can occur when an individual inhales a large amount of the dust particles causing early onset of symptoms.
Many workers are exposed to silica dust during their daily activities but those who work in construction-related industries are at a high risk of developing silicosis if protective measures are not put in place. With a condition like silicosis, there is no ‘cure’ but symptoms can be alleviated with steroids and breathing aids. This means that prevention is essential for those who work around silica dust particles.
Exposure and prevention
The Health and Safety Executive has put in place a set of guidelines called the Workplace Exposure Limits which employers are expected to follow when a worker is at risk of inhaling or being exposed to any substance which may be harmful to health. Silica exposure limits are recommended within this document therefore workers should be provided with personal protective equipment or should be removed from the area where they are working after a certain time period has passed. If you have suffered illness as a result of silica dust exposure then you may be able to make a claim if you were not aware that you were being exposed and were not trained or provided with protection at your place of work.
How to claim for silica dust exposure
Accident Advice Helpline is a law firm which has been in business for 14 years and we have aided thousands of people to win compensation when they have suffered injury or illness at work. Provided that there is proof of negligence, you may be able to win a cash payout to help you cope financially if you are unable to return to work. Contact us today via our free 24-hour helpline on 0800 689 0500 or use our online claims form to determine how successful your claim is likely to be.