Eight people have been awarded compensation after it emerged they had been exposed to toxic fumes at their workplace, reports The Harrow Observer.
Workers of Jobcentre Plus, based in Harrow town centre, started to feel nauseous and suffer from headaches, though they didn’t understand why.
This continued for some months. When some of the employees started to experience problems with their balance, they sought advice from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union.
An investigation found that the workers had been inhaling noxious fumes, caused by a spillage of paving sealant that contained a toxic chemical. Xylene is so potent, it can even cause death at high levels of exposure.
It is possible that some members of the public may have been exposed to the fumes, however, such brief inhalation should not cause any harm.
With the assistance of an injury claims solicitor, the Jobcentre workers put together a case for damages and were eventually awarded £12,600 between them by Harrow Council and The Department For Work and Pensions (DWP).
Celebrating the result, PCS health and safety officer, Carl Banks told The Harrow Observer: “We are delighted these members have been compensated for the failure of both the DWP and the council to take this chemical spill seriously.”
“Our members spent weeks wondering what was wrong with them before finally finding out that they were suffering from the side effects of exposure to noxious chemicals.”