Posted by: Geordie Rowe | 2011-07-17


Good Morning,

I have been working for a company for 5 years. In the first 3 years never took any sick leave. In February 2010 I was transferred to our cheese factory in Heidelberg WC. My office was constucted of fridge panelling and was very moist and had mould growing on the walls. This was cleaned on a weekly basis, but still the same thing happened. Also the factory was not sealed off from the offices and they use certain cleaning chemicals that use to travel up the stairs and into my office which closed my chest and made it very difficult to breath. I started suffering from stabbing pains in my right breast and the first thing I thought was breast cancer. My GP sent me for a mamogram and a sonar. Whilst at the radiologist I decided to take an chest xray as well. The breast test was all clear, but the chest xray showed a black spot on my right lung. As I have no medical. aid. I went back to my GP which referred me to the George Hospital. After numerous xrays and tests I was diagnosed with COPD. With a lung capacity of 32%. I have been oxygen dependant since November 2010 on a 18 hour per day basis. The dependancy has increased to between 20 and 24 hour per day. I am classified as disabled now, and working from home, but finding it very difficult as I have a problem with concentration as well. Was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia as well. What I would like to know is, can my employer be held responsible for my illness? I had a clean bill of health prior to working at the factory and I truely believe that the heavy chemicals that I was exposed to was the reason for me becoming ill. I would really appreciate you view on this.

Kind Regards

Geordie Rowe

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageWorkplace health expert


You MUST contact both the department of Labour ( Inspectorate) to visit the workplace to inspect the workplace, systems in place etc, AND an OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE DOCTOR to review your case. There could well be grounds for apportioning some blame to the employer - BUT one cannot determine this without a detailed assessment of ALL matters, facts and information.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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