Industrial injury solicitor explains how a metal foundry worker can claim compensation for injuries caused in the fettling process including: tinnitus, noise induced hearing loss, lung disease / Siderosis and vibration white finger
Foundry Worker Industrial Injury Victim
I worked in several metal foundries for 30 years as a fettler – working primarily with cast iron and aluminium (sometimes bronze and brass). The last foundry I worked in produced galvanised steel castings.
I worked initially in Newcastle and Sunderland and then moved to a foundry in Nottinghamshire.
During the foundry fettling process I would use various different tools and machines, including: disc grinders, air drills, hammers and chisels, files, linishing machines, knives and scrapers
The machines produced a lot of noise, vibration and gave off a lot of dust. In many of the foundries – breathing protection was not provided and extraction was poor. Rarely was any hearing protection provided.
I noticed a problem with my hands before I stopped work 10 years ago – they were painful in the cold and the tips turned white.
Over the last couple of years – I noticed a buzzing in my ears especially at night when it is quiet. I also was feeling short of breath.
I went to see my GP – 6 months ago with all the symptoms and he has sent me to see a number of specialists.
I was initially diagnosed with COPD for my breathing, but with further testing and scans I was told that I had an occupational lung disease, which the doctors called Siderosis.
My hearing was tested and I was told that I had significant hearing loss from noise. The buzzing in my ears was tinnitus.
Finally – I am waiting to see a vascular surgeon for my hands, but my GP suspects that I am likely to be suffering from VWF.
As my work as a fettler finished 10 years ago – is it too late to claim for my injuries?
I also suspect that the many of the foundries I worked for are no longer in business.
Industrial Injury Solicitor Response
The types of condition (industrial deafness, occupational lung disease and VWF) you have experienced are very typical for foundry workers during the fettling process using the tools you have described – most notably disc grinders, linishing machines and air drills.
The time period to issue a claim at court before it is too late is generally three years from the date of injury or knowledge of injury (the last date of knowledge being the date of diagnosis).
Looking at each condition in turn:
Industrial deafness / occupational noise induced hearing loss:
Exposure to excessive noise without hearing protection will progressively cause damage to your hearing. When you are younger and your hearing is stronger, so despite damage being caused you are unlikely to have appreciated any hearing loss symptoms.
As you become older, your hearing deteriorates with age and it is only when the combined effect of noise induced hearing loss and hearing loss from the ageing process is large enough that you will start to experience symptoms, which include tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing in the ears), struggling to hear conversation when there is back ground noise, etc.
Testing will include a hearing test by an audiologist – the results are plotted out onto a graph known as an audiogram, which is then interpreted by an ENT. An audiogram can distinguish between hearing loss from noise and from age / other causes.
Your date of knowledge can run from the date that you first sort assistance from your doctors for hearing problems – the latest date typically is the date of your hearing test.
Industrial lung disease:
Exposure to metal dusts can be very harmful to your lungs and depending on the dust you are exposed to will often define the condition you are diagnosed with. Siderosis is the damage caused by inhalation of iron dust. COPD is a much more generalised condition.
Lung damage can initially be asymptomatic (not producing symptoms) and it can often be years or even decades later before symptoms present themselves.
Date of knowledge for such conditions is typically date of diagnosis by a specialist.
Vibration White Finger:
This is a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints from prolonged used of hand held vibrating equipment.
Symptoms of this condition typically commence at the time of exposure or within 1 year thereafter. Your date of knowledge of injury will depend on a number of factors, including when you first sort medical assistance and when you were diagnosed.
From your description – I believe that there is a good chance that you would still have a claim for industrial injury against your former employers. If the foundries are no longer in business – the insurer at the time could be traced to meet the liability of the foundries.
Making an industrial injury claim: industrial deafness, occupational lung disease and VWF
Industrial injury claims caused from working as a fettler can be quite complex, so I recommend that you act as quickly as possible.
Click metal foundry fettling injury claim to complete my online form or call me direct on the number shown next to my photograph to discuss your industrial injury claim in more detail.