Derbyshire coal miners have collectively received over £25m in compensation for industrial diseases contracted during their work in the coal mine. These conditions primarily being vibration white finger and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There have been 4,810 claims in south Derbyshire in the ten years since the government set up the scheme to compensate former miners. Only four claims remain outstanding.
Vibration white finger is a medical condition caused by excessive use of vibrating machinery and developed by many mine workers. It causes the fingers to go white and results in severe pain. 1,537 of the claims were for this condition, with £16m being paid out between the claimants. After receiving £8000 pounds for his vibration white finger claims, Philip Clay was delighted with the result announcing “the money I got helped get myself straight.”
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a respiratory disease instigated by the inhalation of coal dust. It causes coughing fits and difficulty in breathing for sufferers. 3,273 claims in south Derbyshire were for this condition, with £9.2m being paid out in compensation between the claimants.
There has been widespread condemnation for the amount of time claims have taken to be settled but the process is now drawing to an end in Derbyshire. Nearly all of those former miners who made chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vibration white finger claims have now received the compensation they deserve.