Silicosis Compensation Claims
Have you been diagnosed with Silicosis? Claims National is an industrial disease specialist who can provide you with free help and advice in relation to making a compensation claim for silicosis.
Silicosis is a type of a lung disease that is caused when dust that contains silica is inhaled over a prolonged period of time, often from the work place.
What causes Silicosis?
Silica in the form of tiny crystals or dust is toxic to the lining of the lungs. When Silica comes into contact with the lungs an inflammatory reaction occurs, and over time lung tissue can become thickened and scarred (this is known as fibrosis). Silica dust is often found in sandstone, granite, slate, coal and pure silica sand.
Who is most at risk of Silicosis?
The people most at risk of developing Silicosis are;
- Foundry workers
- Abrasives manufacturing
- Road and building construction
- Stone cutters
What are the symptoms of Silicosis?
The most common symptoms of Silicosis are;
- Chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
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Respirable crystalline silica is found in stone, rocks, sands and clays. Being exposed to this substance over a long period of time can cause fibrosis, which is hardening or scarring of the lung tissue, consequenting in a loss of lung function. Symptoms that sufferers are likely to obtain include severe shortness of breath, which can make it difficult or impossible to even walk short distances. The condition alongside it’s symptoms will remain even after the exposure has stopped, meaning that sufferers can become house or bed bound, and often have a shorter life expectancy due to heart failure. Silica can also be linked to lung cancer and workers with silicosis are at an increased risk of tuberculosis, kidney disease and arthritis.
Silicosis occurs as the dust is inhaled, and particles of it can become embedded into parts of the lung which can’t cleared by mucus or coughing, intoxicating the lining of the lungs and creating a strong inflammatory reaction.
Chronic silicosis is the most common variation of silicosis. This type of silicosis is usually a result from long term exposure to a low level of silica, causing the amount of inhaled silica to build up gradually over a long period of time. The main difficulty with chronic silicosis, is that the symptoms take a long time to appear and therefore when they do, your lungs have already suffered enormously.
Accelerated silicosis, another version of the illness, usually occurs when you have been exposed to a higher level of silica over a shorter period of time. This is normally between 5-15 years in oppose to chronic silicosis, which has a development time of 20 years plus. Swelling in the lungs and other symptoms of accelerated silicosis appear faster than in chronic silicosis. These symptoms are slightly differed, and include shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss.
Acute silicosis is a less common variation of the disease, where symptoms develop quickly. This is because acute silicosis occurs when you inhale a large quantity of silica over a short period of time, leading to immediate damage. The symptoms gradually get worse despite any treatment given, and the illness often results in death.
Occupations with risk of being exposed to silica include quarrying, slate works, foundries, potteries, stonemasonry, construction, and industries using silica flour to manufacture goods.
Health regulations in Britain are set to prevent excessive exposure of silica, and therefore minimise the risks of developing silicosis. This is practiced by setting a limit to the amount of silica you can be exposed to in the workplace, which was introduced in 2002. However, these regulations do not completely wipe out the development of silicosis in workers. In fact, in 2006, 14 deaths were reported due to silicosis, and another 7 were reported in 2007.
Health surveillance must also be a regular occurrence in occupations that are exposed to silica, such as construction, foundry work, brick and tile work, ceramics etc, as there are high risks of workers developing silicosis.