What Should You Do If You've Been Diagnosed with Silicosis?

Posted on: 12 April 2022


Did you know that the Australian government has set up a task force to investigate the risks associated with 'occupational dust?' This group will study the problem, particularly regarding the dangers of silicosis and how the engineered stone industry may need to make changes. Yet, you may have already been affected by exposure to occupational dust in such an environment and may already be exhibiting some symptoms. Is there anything you can do to make a claim in this situation?

Understanding Silicosis

Silicosis is not a new disease and was once very common in Australia when safety standards were nowhere near as high. The condition can relate to scarring of the lungs caused when the individual was exposed to silica dust, and the prognosis can be quite challenging. While some symptoms can include chest pain, coughing or a buildup of phlegm, other people go on to develop cancer, kidney disease or even tuberculosis. It seems that there is much to still learn about this disease, and more restrictions may be necessary for the workplace going forward.

Working with Engineered Stone

Consumers love engineered stone within their bathrooms and kitchens, but someone has to prepare and fit it. When these stones are modified, they can release a tremendous amount of crystalline silica dust, and without adequate safety measures in place, this can easily get into the lungs.

Improvements Made, but More to Do

Manufacturers and employers must provide safety protection and educate anyone involved on all the possible risks. Certainly, improvements have been made, and the number of incidents may be lower than they were, but the situation is still far from settled. This is no doubt why the government decided to set up a task force in the first place, understanding that there was plenty of work to be done.

Major Changes

Whenever anybody is diagnosed, they must take remedial action. They'll no longer be able to work in such an environment, so they may have to switch employment altogether, retrain new skills and take on additional costs. They may also need to pay for medical treatment or care and will need to deal with pain and suffering as they try to take stock of the situation and move on with their lives.

Claiming Compensation

If you find yourself in this position, you will be wondering what to do next. To start off with, you should certainly look at your compensation options and may be able to make a claim under workers' compensation schemes or other policies. 

In any case, you are best advised to get professional support as you explore these different paths and should talk with a lawyer who specialises in compensation claims. They will listen to your story and advise you on how to proceed.

Contact a lawyer in your area for more information.