A 22-year-old tradition has spoken of the harrowing moment when he was diagnosed with a deadly respiratory illness called & # 39; the new asbestos & # 39 ;.
Connor Downes, of Gold Coast, is the youngest person in Australia who is diagnosed with silicosis – which is caused by deadly silica dust particles.
Mr. Downes had worked with the material for three years when he decided to have himself checked after a friend found out he had the disease.
& # 39; When they did the respiratory tests with the CT scan, you immediately saw the nodules in my lungs, large white powders everywhere, & # 39; he told the ABC.
Connor Downes, 22 (photo), who was diagnosed last month, is just one of hundreds of people preparing for a class action campaign against various companies in the brick bank.
Mr. Downes (photo) said that in his three years working at the & # 39; wet-cut workplace & # 39; dust is covered day in day out
Speaking with Daily Mail Australia Mr. Downes said it was frightening to find out that he had a potentially fatal illness.
& # 39; Everyone knew that any kind of substance would be harmful, but we didn't know to what extent, & # 39; said Mr. Downes.
& # 39; The diagnosis was a huge shock because the doctors told me I couldn't go back to work, and that's the only transaction I know.
& # 39; My partner and I were planning to have children and I had just bought a house, but now I have a very low salary that barely cleans my bills or my mortgage. & # 39;
Mr. Downes is just one of hundreds of employees who are preparing to launch a class action campaign against various companies in the brick industry.
Slater and Gordon announced on Thursday that it will take the lead against manufacturers after their products have led to stonemasons contracting the deadly lung disease.
Ever since he was diagnosed, Mr. Downes said, "It was a pretty rough process," because he can no longer work and is forced to stay home all day while his friends work.
& # 39; It's hard because my days aren't filled with a whole lot, apart from doctor's appointments, & he said.
Shane Parata (photo) was diagnosed with silicosis days before killing his brother Anthony
Slater and Gordon say they have seen a peak in reports from employees who previously worked in the industry and are now diagnosed with silicosis.
Practice group leader Margaret Kent told Daily Mail Australia that several prominent suppliers of stone workplaces did not adequately explain their safety risks or handling precautions to their employees.
What is silicosis?
Silicose is the scar of the lung tissue, which leads to shortness of breath due to an accumulation of silica dust in the air pockets.
It typically affects traders who work with concrete, stones, tiles, sandstone, and granite.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, loss of appetite, fatigue
It is often caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica for many years, but extremely high short-term exposure can cause it to develop rapidly
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can lead to a range of respiratory diseases, including silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer
Source: Queensland Workplace Health and Safety
"Under Australian law, responsibility for damage caused under these circumstances falls to the manufacturers involved," said Kent.
& # 39; The extreme levels of damage caused by dust from stone table products in Australia can be traced back to a small number of manufacturers. & # 39;
Mrs. Downes, who encourages other employees to be checked, said that when he got into his car at the end of his shift, & # 39; a big cloud of smoke & # 39; would come out of his clothes.
Mrs. Kent said: & # 39; It's a tragedy that so many people get or will get sick just by going to work.
& # 39; This class action will ensure that manufacturers are held responsible for the damage caused by their products.
& # 39; It is outrageous that a product can be legally used and sold when it poses such a serious risk to employees, & # 39; she said.
Mr. Downes' case comes after several other reported cases, including the former Gold Coast stonemason, Shane Parata, and his brother Anthony White, who died in 2017.
Another victim who was only diagnosed last week was Joel Goldby, who was only 15 years old when he started cutting artificial stone countertops in Queensland.
Now, at 28, Mr. Struggles Goldby – who has recruited his brother and three of his best partners in the industry – to breathe.
& # 39; I am short of breath all the time, it just feels like my lungs are much bigger than they should be & # 39 ;, Goldby said.
& # 39; I had no idea it was even a possibility, otherwise I would not have my best friends and brother to work there. & # 39;
Another victim who was only diagnosed last week was Joel Goldby (photo), who was only 15 years old when he started cutting artificial stone workbenches in Queensland.
While Mr Goldby is still working in the industry in Victoria, his comrades are not so lucky, they struggle to make ends meet during Workcover.
& # 39; I know about 30 plus guys who have it now. & # 39;
In April this year, the federal government established the National Dust Diseases Task Force in response to new cases of accelerated silicosis.
In Queensland, more than 100 stonemasons have been diagnosed with the condition in the six months to April.
At least one of them has died and 15 of the cases are considered terminal.
It is suspected that Mr. White (photo) is the first trader to die after experts warned last year of manipulated stones and the & # 39; the next asbestos & # 39; called
Silicosis is an incurable and deliberate lung disease that is described as the greatest threat to traders since asbestos and mesothelioma (stock image)
There has also been a wave of cases in Victoria that prompted the state government to combat practices, including dry cutting, creating dangerous plumes of dust that stonemasons can breathe.
Between July 2017 and March this year, 44 silica claims were submitted to WorkSafe Victoria, 35 of which were stonemasons.
Mrs Kent said that the approach to class actions was intended to supplement the compensation rights of existing employees.
& # 39; It is important for all employees who are somehow injured by silicon to be aware of the compensation rights for workers that they might be able to use & # 39 ;, she said.
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