Man receives compensation after chemical exposure

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A PAINT shop supervisor exposed to high levels of dangerous chemicals has won ‘significant’ compensation.

Adam Coventon, from Royston, worked for Prior Scientic Instruments LTD for five years before developing myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) after being exposed to the chemical trichloroethylene because his employer failed to properly install a new piece of machinery.

A degreasing tank used to clean scientific instruments before they were sprayed was poorly installed and didn’t seal properly allowing trichloroethylene to leak into the poorly-ventilated room where Adam worked alone. He received no warning of the hazard and no protective equipment.

Six months after the new degreasing tank was installed Adam developed breathing difficulties, chronic shakes and fatigue. His GP recorded a 20 per cent decrease of lung function and referred him to a specialist consultant who then identified a lack of lucidity and well-being.

“This should never have happened,” said Corrina Mottram of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented Adam. “The injuries which Adam has suffered are extremely life-limiting and have affected what he is able to do on a day-to-day basis.”

Adam has not been able to return to work since his diagnosis and the severity of his symptoms limit him in everyday tasks. Four years after the chemical exposure, Adam takes daily medication to help manage his muscle spasms and control the pain associated with them. He will be dependent on them for the rest of his life.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Prior Scientific Instruments did not provide suitable equipment to adequately remove the hazardous fumes from the workplace, especially where items were left to dry.