Worker wins pay-out over poisonous fumes

By Michael Upton | 19/08/2010 0 comments

Worker wins pay-out over poisonous fumes

A FACTORY worker has been given more than £3,700 in compensation after breathing in toxic fumes while at work.

Eric Drummond (64) passed out on three separate occasions and was forced to take almost three months off work.

His solicitors at law firm Irwin Mitchell are calling for companies to make sure they provide adequate ventilation when working with potentially dangerous chemicals to avoid other people suffering the same problems.

Mr Drummond, from Brinsworth, was working as a paint mixer at Rotherham Refinishing Supplies when he breathed in the toxic fumes.

He had been mixing a combination of four chemicals to make a paste for an underfloor heating system, but began to feel unwell when he removed his mask shortly after completing his work.

Mr Drummond said: "I finished mixing the paste and took off my mask and gloves as usual, but straight away I got a sharp pain in my stomach and started to feel dizzy.

"My condition quickly deteriorated and I actually passed out three times while I was on site, so my colleagues had to call an ambulance to rush me to the Rotherham General Hospital.

"The hospital found that the fumes I'd breathed in had left traces of the chemicals in my blood, so even after I was discharged from hospital I continued to suffer for some time."

Mr Drummond had to take a total of ten weeks off work after the incident, and Irwin Mitchell negotiated a settlement of £3,760 to cover his injuries and loss of earnings after Rotherham Refinishing Supplies' insurers admitted liability for the incident.

Louise Morgan, personal injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, said: "Mr Drummond inhaled the fumes of what were potentially very dangerous chemicals.

"Fortunately, on this occasion, Mr Drummond was able to make a full recovery, but working with toxic fumes can cause lasting damage and the dangers should not be underestimated.

"Employers must make sure they provide adequate ventilation and equipment for anybody who is working with dangerous chemicals or in any other potentially hazardous environment.

"It is an employer's responsibility to make sure they prioritise the welfare of their staff, and health and safety plays a very important role in preventing incidents like this."

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