Pneumoconiosis refers to a group of lung diseases caused by the inhalation, and retention in the lungs, of dusts. The different forms of pneumoconiosis are defined in terms the kind of dust or the occupation that was the cause. Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, silicosis, and asbestosis are the main forms of pneumoconiosis and these due to coal, silica and asbestos dust respectively. Asbestosis is covered elsewhere.
Pneumoconiosis usually takes many years to develop so most currently occurring cases are among retired workers and reflect industrial conditions of the past.
The latest information shows:
- There were 215 new cases of coal worker's pneumoconiosis assessed for Industrial Injuries and Disablement Benefit in 2014 compared to 275 in 2013.
- There were 55 new cases of silicosis assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit in 2014 compared to 45 in 2013.
- There were 147 deaths due to coal worker's pneumoconiosis in 2013, slightly higher than the average of around 130 deaths per year over the past 5 years.
- There were 18 deaths due to silicosis in 2013, which is similar to the numbers seen over the past 5 years.
- There were 275 estimated new cases of pneumoconiosis seen by chest physicians in 2014 within the THOR-SWORD scheme, although a minority of these were non-asbestos related.
- These figures are likely to be underestimates of the annual number of new cases.
Pneumoconiosis (other than asbestosis) in Great Britain, 2004-2014