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This article was published on April 21st, 2016
In an unusual case a worker has suffered psychological effects from inhaling fumes whilst working in a cement factory.
A ‘high functioning’ man has been reduced to ‘child-like state’ after being exposed to noxious fumes which he inhaled whilst working on a welding job inside a kiln (cyclone). Immediately after welding in the cyclone he experienced acute chest pain and suffered breathing difficulties.
A High Court heard that shortly after completing the job, the employee started to experience psychological problems such as blackouts, dizzy spells and hallucinations.
He had been a very active individual before the incident; he had been a champion horseman, a qualified scuba diver and led a very active and varied lifestyle. The symptoms caused him to become incapable of work and now require his wife to look after him has he struggles with even basic tasks.
His wife is devastated : “Life made him happy and he showed it.
“In every breath he took it produced another smile and in turn he made others smile – a precious gift indeed.”
He is now unable to perform his job of being a welder, a horseman, or a farm labourer and so he is claiming compensation from the cement company for breach of duty.
The judge in the case agreed that the man had suffered a “recognised psychiatric disorder” as a result of toxic fume inhalation, called “hysterical pseudodementia” which is a chronic psychiatric/psychological condition.
The compensation amount is expected to be substantial due to the huge impact on the man’s life and his family’s lives, who have lost the man they once knew.
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