Dust Diseases Affecting Farmers within the Agricultural Industry

A “dust disease” also known as “occupational lung disease” is a lung illness which creates respiratory problems and may lead to fatality.

A dust disease develops as a result of exposure and inhalation of elements such as asbestos dust and fibre, silica dust, gases, powders, vapour and fumes.

In the agricultural industry, the common gases, dusts, fibres and fumes an individual may be exposed to can include:

  • dust from hay, grain and silage, when harvesting or transporting the product.  
  • Asbestos dust and fibres, often found within older farm houses, barns, shearing sheds, contaminated vermiculite products and within asbestos made tractor machinery and equipment.
  • Inhalation of fumes from weed control products, pesticides and fuels.

The dust diseases which can be diagnosed in a farmer from the agricultural industry and which are compensable include asbestosis, mesothelioma, Silicosis, Farmer’s Lung, Talcosis, Byssinosis, Aluminosis, Berylliosis,  Asbestos induced carcinoma, Asbestos related pleural diseases (ARPD) and Hard Metal Pneumoconiosis.

When a farmer is diagnosed with one of these conditions, they are entitled to pursue a workers compensation claim via two avenues, being:

  1. the Dust Disease Authority (“DDA”) pursuant to the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act.


  2. the Dust Disease Tribunal (“DDT”).

These avenues involve varying claim processes, however an election does not need to be made between which of the above two avenues is preferred. The injured farmer can and should investigate a claim via both avenues concurrently.

The type of compensation available to the injured farmer can include:

  • Payments for specialist appointments, hospital admissions and mediation,
  • Payments for income loss
  • The provision of domestic care services, for cleaning, lawn and yard maintenance
  • A lump sum payment for the farmer’s pain, suffering and reduced life expectancy

RMB Lawyers advise seeking expert legal advice as soon as possible after receiving the diagnosis of an occupational lung disease, given the diminished life span of the injured farmer.

By ensuring advice is sough immediately, the chances of obtaining the benefits during the injured worker’s lifetime are maximised. Acting quickly in these claims also ensures the farmer’s family has access to the benefits without delay, guaranteeing less financial stress at an already emotional time.

RMB Lawyers conduct these claims on behalf of injured persons on a “no win – no fee” basis. This means that you do not pay for our time, effort and expertise unless you successfully bring a claim. If your claim is successful, the insurer will have to pay the majority of your legal fees and expenses.

For further information contact us.

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