A general foreman at Aggregate Industries UK (formerly Associated Asphalt) in Markfield, Leicestershire received £5,000 compensation for long-term voice and throat problems suffered as a result of exposure to dust and fumes at work.
David Cox, now 57, joined Associated Asphalt as an asphalter in 1975. When he became a site foreman he was required to manage traffic and supervise asphalting work on motorways and at airports. Cox was been diagnosed as suffering from laryngeal fibromatosis and in 2004 underwent the first of four separate operations to remove polyps from his larynx. He also had to undergo speech therapy to deal with his vocal problems. As a foreman, Cox was regularly exposed to noise, dust and fumes. He explained: 'I have frequently supervised work to burn white lines off roads. This produces huge amounts of dust and fumes - and the level of noise also means that I have to shout if I am to communicate effectively with the men. These factors together have caused the painful and debilitating throat problems I have suffered over many years.' Paul Meehan, solicitor at law firm Pattinson & Brewer said,'Associated Asphalt failed to exercise its proper duty of care towards Cox. 'Although the company was aware of the problems he was experiencing, he was not provided with protective clothing or a face mask. Cox also suffered considerable loss of earnings when he had to take time off work after his four operations. This case highlights a problem which may prove to be quite widespread among construction workers who are routinely exposed to noise, dust and fumes.' A spokesman for Cox explained the compensation only amounted to £5,000 because 'unfortunately under UK law you can't have punitive damages, you can only claim for pain and suffering and loss of earnings.' Aggregate Industries UK was unavailable for comment./p>