A worker for toiletries giant PZ Cussons has been awarded £10,000 compensation for contracting dermatitis whilst in the course of his employment.  The 35 year old man, from Nottingham, brought his case with the assistance of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and Thompsons Solicitors.

As part of his job, the claimant was required to wear latex gloves to protect his hands from various chemicals. At the start of 2005 he began to develop symptoms of dermatitis on his hands and wrists.  He was subsequently diagnosed with Irritant Contact Dermatitis, attributable to the gloves worn at work at this time.

“The claimant was left with a vulnerability to develop contact dermatitis again should he come into contact with the same gloves in the course of employment,” said TGWU Regional Industrial Organiser, Mr Peter Whipps. “In spite of this, effective action was not taken by his employers to prevent further exposure, namely by providing suitable glove-liners, and the outbreaks of dermatitis continued.”

“The simple fact is that chemicals are dangerous if they are not handled properly.  If employers do not provide protective equipment, they can expect the union to act for members and take appropriate action against them.”

When the PZ Cussons plant in Nottingham was closed down in 2006, the claimant was made redundant.  The company refused to settle the case and it was necessary for Court Proceedings to be issued by Thompsons Solicitors. As part of the investigation by the firm, medical expertise was sought.  The medical expert confirmed that the claimant would be more susceptible to irritants in the future and may well suffer outbreaks of dermatitis for at least five years.  

Commenting on the outcome, his personal injury lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors, Monique Lubbe, said: “Following the decision to make the claimant redundant, it was important not only to secure the highest level of compensation for the claimant, but also in the shortest possible time.  This was achieved and the case was settled much to the claimant’s relief and satisfaction.”

The claim included additional compensation to reflect the risk of the claimant finding himself on the open labour market for a longer period of time.  This is because he had to be careful regarding the type of jobs he could accept at the time of being made redundant.