Harmful sawdust pay-out

12th August 2005 at 01:00
A design and technology teacher in Nottinghamshire has won nearly Pounds 150,000 compensation after being made ill by wood dust in his school's workshop.

The 52-year-old was forced to retire after 21 years as a head of department at the same secondary school when he began to suffer headaches, nasal discharge and blockage, and rhinosinusitis.

The illnesses were directly linked to the wood dust he inhaled in the school workshop. The most damaging dust was from medium density fibreboard (MDF) which included particles of urea and formaldehyde.

The teacher, who has not been named, was awarded a total of pound;154,564 after a two-day civil court case in Nottingham. The school was not named.

The court heard that the teacher's workshop had not been fitted with suitable extraction systems, and he had not received relevant safety training.

His union, the NASUWT, has called on school managers to take greater care to protect their staff's health. Nottinghamshire county council said it would be reviewing its health and safety procedures.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "Compensation is cold comfort when you can no longer do the job you loved and your health is damaged."

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