Woman's landmark silica dust compo claim

Former silica milling worker Dianne Adams plans to sue following a landmark compensation claim.
Former silica milling worker Dianne Adams plans to sue following a landmark compensation claim.

A former Victorian factory worker suffering from an autoimmune disease plans to sue her ex-employer following a landmark compensation claim linked to silica dust exposure.

Dianne Adams, 58, worked at a silica milling factory at Lang Lang for 19 years until 2004.

Five years later, she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus which can inflame tissues in different parts of the body.

WorkCover Victoria this week accepted Ms Adams' compensation claim.

Shine Lawyers says it is the first successful WorkCover claim in Australia covering lupus linked to silica dust exposure.

Other claims for different autoimmune diseases linked to silica dust exposure have previously been accepted, but not for lupus.

It paves the way for Ms Adams to sue the factory, currently owned by Sibelco Australia, for negligence. She was last year also diagnosed with silicosis.

"I just got worse and worse until I couldn't do the job," she told AAP of her time at the factory.

''I've had 10 years on Centrelink, on the dole. It's not something I'd planned on, and that in itself is hard.

"Because you don't live on the dole, you try and survive on it."

It's getting harder and harder to doing little things, like walk 500 metres from her farm house to her mail box.

Ms Adams said seven of her former colleagues had also ended up seriously ill, mainly with silicosis.

"There's still people working ... without protection," she said.

"I just want them to know that if they're getting the work and they're getting covered in dust, do something.

"Speak up and say 'hey boss, this is not right, this is killing me'."

Australian Associated Press