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Family secure compensation after film-sets sandblaster developed rare form of silicosis

The family of a man who worked as a sandblaster for many years, including on blockbuster film sets, and later developed a rare form of silicosis, have secured compensation.

Posted on 21 July 2021

The family of Alan Eade, who worked for De-Corrosion services Limited from 2010 to 2018, have received compensation after Leigh Day’s industrial diseases team handled his claim.

As a sandblaster since the early 1990s, Alan's job was to use high pressure blasting equipment inside a blasting shed to sandblast a variety of objects in order to remove paint, rust and dirt.

Alan, who lived in Hounslow, spent many years working at film studios where he sandblasted items which were used on film sets. Films he worked on included Sleepy Hollow, Tomb Raider and Harry Potter.

ln 2016, Alan developed a cough, then shortness of breath and within two years his condition had deteriorated so much that he had to stop working. Biopsies revealed that he had an unusual and complex form of rapidly progressing silicosis and mixed dust pneumoconiosis.

Silicosis is a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, which is found in sand, Once inside the lungs, the dust particles are attacked by the immune system which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue.

Alan instructed Leigh Day in March 2019. Even though it appeared that he was past the three-year time limit for bringing a personal injury claim, Leigh Day's investigations confirmed that there were errors in his medical records and that he was still within the time limits to pursue a claim.

Alan recalled that when he started working for De-Corrosion Services Limited in 2010, he was provided with a different type of sand than he had used before, which was finer and created more dust when he was working.

He stated that in 2016 he was instructed to re-use the sand, which also increased the amounts of dust he was exposed to. This was strongly denied by the defendant during the legal claim.

The defendant admitted primary liability for Alan's claim and a six-figure settlement was agreed in August 2020. The settlement included a significant sum to allow him to pay for private carers.

Alan died in October 2020, aged 63. The compensation has therefore been paid to his family.

Andrew Cooper from the industrial diseases team at Leigh Day said:

"Alan faced the uncertainty of developing a rare medical condition which significantly impacted on his life.

"l hope that by achieving the settlement during his lifetime, this provided him with security and a sense of closure in the final months of his life.

"As a complex silicosis case, Alan's claim required multiple experts in the field of lung disease and occupational health and required the specialist expertise of industrial disease lawyers in order to bring it to a successful conclusion.”

Andrew Cooper
Asbestos and mesothelioma Industrial disease

Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper is a senior associate solicitor in the industrial disease team.

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