Cosentino settles 15-year legal dispute around dangers of Silestone

IndustryNews Thu 9th Feb 2023 by KBBFocus

Cosentino settles 15-year legal dispute around dangers of Silestone

Cosentino settles 15-year legal dispute around dangers of Silestone

Spanish worktop manufacturer Cosentino has admitted in court that it failed to supply adequate information regarding the dangers of cutting and polishing its bestselling quartz material Silestone. However, in a statement, the company has strenuously denied allegations that this led to nearly 1,900 workers contracting the lung disease, silicosis.

The company said: "Cosentino made the decision to put an end to a nearly 15-year legal dispute by reaching a settlement that implies the company’s assumption of liability solely for providing insufficient technical information about Silestone to a specific third-party fabrication shop and exclusively affecting 5 employees of this fabricator."

According to Reuters, in the ruling the judge said Cosentino had failed to ensure adequate labelling of the 95% silica content of Silestone, despite the potential health and safety risks associated with fabricating the material. The news outlet states the company agreed to pay 1.1million euros in compensation to the five stonemasons – one of whom has since died – who had sued it for failing to warn of the risk of silicosis linked to cutting and polishing Silestone worktops.

Silicosis is a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years. Once inside the lungs, it causes swelling and gradually leads to areas of hardened and scarred lung tissue, causing symptoms such as a persistent cough and shortness of breath that continue to worsen even if an individual is no longer exposed. 

Cosentino, which employs over 5,000, said in a statement that it only admitted liability for insufficient technical information affecting five workers at a specific workshop and therefore "the result of this case cannot be generalized to any past or future proceedings".

Cosentino said managers at stone-cutting workshops are responsible for ensuring "the safety of their workers by properly implementing and enforcing safety measures".

"It is entirely incorrect that Cosentino concealed information about the health & safety measures required to fabricate Silestone or that the handling of Silestone has caused the majority of cases of silicosis that have affected 1,856 workers," it added.

Tags: industry, news, cosentino, silestone, silicosis

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