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Queensland Silicosis Compensation And Treatment

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Can I Get Silicosis Compensation 

Queensland Silicosis Compensation And Treatment

Workers in the stone bench top industry are facing the most serious epidemic since the dangers of asbestos were exposed. 

An increasing number of workers have reported symptoms including: 

  • Chest pain

  • Coughing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

Many have now sought medical treatment, only to be told the devastating news that they are suffering from silicosis.

What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is generally a work-related, and incurable airborne lung disease. 

It is caused by exposure to, and the inhaling of, crystalline silica (also often called quartz). This crystal compound is released in the process of dry cutting, grinding, sanding, polishing and installation of stone bench tops most commonly used in modern kitchens.

Different types of stone have differing levels of crystalline silica. For example, granite may only contain 25% crystalline silica, whereas modern engineered or manufactured stone may contain up to 90%.

What Are The Causes, Signs And Symptoms Of The Disease?

The uncontrolled dry cutting, grinding or polishing of stone is the main cause, which is prohibited in Queensland workplaces. However, companies who are negligent may continue to run the risk of exposing workers.

These symptoms can develop or progress even after exposure to the substance has stopped. Common symptoms include:

  • A shortness of breath that gets noticeably worse with any exertion

  • A persistent cough

  • General fatigue

  • Rapid breathing

  • A loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Chest pain

  • Fever

  • Gradual darkening of skin (blue skin)

Crystalline silica exposure can cause numerous health complications. Most commonly, lung cancer, kidney damage, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studies suggest it may also contribute to renal cancer.

Who Is Affected By Silicosis In Queensland?

Any worker who is improperly exposed to crystalline silica may be affected. 

So far, over 100 workers in Queensland have sadly contracted the disease. Very high exposures in the short-term can cause the disease to develop rapidly, which is known as acute silicosis.

The disease can appear in workers of any age. In early 2019, a 22 year old male was diagnosed with silicosis. He had spent three years working with stone bench tops and was exposed to crystalline silica regularly.  

What Treatments Are Available?

WorkCover Queensland has been offering initial health screenings since September 2018. If a diagnosis is made, WorkCover can assist to fund some supportive treatment and payment of weekly benefits.

However, the larger impact can be devastating on those affected, their families and finances.

How Can The Threat Of Silicosis Be Reduced Or Removed?

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland has called for immediate action by all employers in the bench top industry to prevent further exposure. 

Helpful measures introduced to reduce the disease include: 

  • Water suppression of the dust created

  • Local exhaust ventilation

  • Isolation of work areas

  • A substitution of materials

  • Regular health monitoring

  • Free health screening 

  • Protective breathing equipment

Queensland Silicosis Compensation Claim Time Limits

Other injuries and accidents, such as Queensland car accident compensation claims carry a very strict time limit. However, a silicosis compensation claim has currently no statutory time limit.

Can I Get Compensation For Silicosis In Brisbane, The Gold Coast Or Queensland?

If you, or someone you know has been exposed to crystalline silica dust, contact WorkCover Queensland as soon as possible. 

You’re welcome to email, chat or call us to discuss any concerns you may have regarding silicosis compensation. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can assess your compensation claim at no cost to you.

Our no win, no fee guarantee quickly pays for all outlays and any claim expenses such as medical bills.

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