The eight employees reported suffering varied symptoms from mild confusion, loss of balance, headaches, and nausea after Harrow Council-employed contractors spilt a Resiblock Ultra Matt on the footpath right outside their offices. The paving sealant solution contained Xylene, a highly potent chemical compound.
After filing a personal injury claim against both the Department for Work and Pensions and Harrow Council, the eight public sector employees were awarded £12,600 in compensatory damages according to an article published in the Harrow Observer. Both DWP and the council settled out of court with the workers but still denied any liability in the incident.
The Jobcentre employees split the compensation award amongst the eight of them, who had been feeling ill for several months in the wake of prolonged exposure to the powerfully potent toxin. Employees complained about the overpowering smell of the chemical’s fumes at the premises, but the DWP allegedly failed to act on worker concerns.
Public and Commercial Services Union health and safety officer, Carl Banks, remarked on the outcome of the case, stating that PCS wished to express their delight that their members had been compensated adequately for the failures of Harrow Council and the DWP to deal with the chemical spill in a serious manner.
While both the Council and the DWP did not legally admit to any wrongdoing through neglect in regards to the 8 workers’ injuries, neither were available for comment following the resolution of the case through its out of court settlement.