Recently in Australia and around the world, it has emerged that stonemasons who have undertaken work involving cutting and processing of engineered stone benchtops are at risk of contracting acute silicosis and other respiratory illnesses.
These conditions are said to be caused by cutting engineered stone kitchen and bathroom benchtops, which contain a high level of respirable crystalline silica (90% and above).
A number of stonemasons in Australia who have been involved in the cutting of engineered stone benchtops manufactured by companies like Caesarstone, Quantumquartz, Smartstone and Silestone, have been diagnosed with silicosis. If you have worked with these kinds of products and are concerned that this issue may affect you, it is very important that you seek medical advice from your doctor.
Under Australian law, manufacturers of products owe duties to consumers and end-users of these products to ensure that they are safe and that any risks they present are accompanied by appropriate warnings. In relation to the diagnoses of silicosis that have occurred to date, it appears that these obligations may have been breached.
Slater and Gordon is investigating potential claims for compensation against these manufacturers of engineered stone on behalf of stonemasons who have suffered harm as a result of their work cutting these materials. There are a number of forms that such claims may take, in addition to workers’ rights under state-based workers’ compensation regimes, including potentially a class action covering individuals from all jurisdictions across Australia.
What is a class action?
In a class action, a plaintiff commences a claim on behalf of a larger group of others who have been similarly affected by a common issue or event. Those individuals are covered by the claim without the need for them to take any steps to sign up to it – they will get the benefit of being part of the case unless they remove themselves from it, in a process known as ‘opting out’. The court will put in place a process to allow affected individuals to opt out of a class actions some time after the claim has been commenced – information is generally publicised about this process once the case is underway.
We encourage anyone who may be affected by this to contact us as we continue to investigate a potential class action.
Register your details for the Silicosis class action
If you wish to register your interest with us in relation to a potential claim, please fill in the form below.
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