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British Lung Foundation
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Thinking about going to work

Hi all,

I have been off work for about 3 months now,I am thinking about returning back to work.However when i spoke to my G.P, i was a bit deflated.I worked for a small company as a mechanical fitter,refurbishing tank trailers for the army.Now this is a very dusty job,and a lot of grinding,burning and welding,which produces a lot of gases.Now my Docs says that i couldn't do that type of work any more,due to the dust,gases and the fact that i work 10 hour shifts,4 days a week,and usually 6 hours on a fri. The company that i work for do not have any other position's that they could slot me into.I am 50 year old,without any other qualifications.Any suggestions ?

11 Replies

Your health is most important I wish I had the advise when I worked so you realy need to think before it's too late good Luck


Hi sorry u have been told the thing u've done for so many years and qualified to do u can't do any more, this illness does this with so many aspects of our daily lives, I to had to give up my job that I've done since leaving school. I worked in my hospital, but was unreliable due to infections all the time so constantly let them down, exhausted half way through a shift and couldn't keep walking round all day, they were brilliant with me , but I left so they could replace me with some one that could do the job , I'm now the patient in the hospital I worked in, spend more time in as a patient then when I was a worker lol, now I think who would employ me with my sickness level , never knowing If I'm well enough to turn up each day, the demands of no dust, no stairs, no waking about, in one way I feel written off in the working world but at the same time I appreciate time at home with my kids and can saunter off to bed when I need to, I know lots of people that still work but this is my personal situation I'm in due to my illness. hope everything turns out ok for u. Xxxxxx


Ooh that's tricky Brian. Could you wear a mask at work? Or work part time? Other than that I do agree that your health is more important. If you did have to leave could you try for medical retirement? You might be in a better financial position if you did. But it might hinder you getting another job in the future. x


It must be very hard for you to accept this situation, BUT as someone much older than you may I BEG you to put your health first?? - no matter how financially difficult it might make things. the hardest part of my health journey (after fighting for breath!) has been to accept that I just cannot do the things I always thought I would be able to. I have always been one of those that seems to think I have to keep going, no matter what, that the firm I worked for would fall apart if I didn't go in every day, work late, drag myself in when feeling like death, etc., etc....ha ha ha ha, the firm is IBM and guess what they are still around!!! :) Seriously though, please do put yourself and your health first, and try not to be discouraged that you can't do your job any more. I might have had a few more years of not feeling so lousy if I had done that. By the way, there's lots of volunteering out there for the asking. Hope I don't sound patronising, just want you to hear from someone who did not take the advice I was given at the time. RELAX AND HAVE FUN :)


I'll second that . Xxx


I have had to leave my work and go on a disability pension

I am currently struggling with living on a small fixed income although I am grateful for being able to qualify for it

I am considering volunteering maybe three hours a week to start

I have always been independent and I am really struggling with the fact the my life has changed so much

But I wake up every day glad that I am alive

I really understand how you feel

It is a really difficult set of circumstances to deal with

Hope it works out somehow


This is a really difficult one and depends in part how old you are. I have been lucky at work in that they accommodated my part time hours and I don't have all the dust you have!!

Even so a few years ago my GP suggested signing me off permanently. I am 45 years. At the time I objected strongly and NOW she sees that continuing to work is (on the whole) good for my mental health. I hope to get to at least 50 years because then will have no mortgage so will be secure in my home. I was told at 40 yrs by occupational health I wouldn't get there but am now more than half way there!!

Surviving on benefits with added pressures of homelessness won't be any fun! Maybe work could accommodate you in some form?? At least in relation to hours.


How tough for you brianj but everyone is right, your health is the most important consideration. Is there anyone at work you can chat to about this? Maybe they can find something else for you if you tell them what your doctor has said. Good luck to you and hope you get something sorted out very soon. Take care xxxx


Hi Firstly it is great that feel well enough to go back to work but may be a change of job is needed. Talk to the CAB first about returning to work I say the cab because the route back into work may be via the department of work and Pensions but your employment position needs to be considered such as are you retiring on the grounds of ill health are you being sacked or are you giving in a voluntary notice. all of these will affect your entitlements in different ways. There may be other work you could do such as working in a supermarket or shops generally. B& Q offer older people work who have practical skills like yourself. These are only thoughts it may be a hard decision to make some work is better than no work at all. I wish you luck with this and try to get some independent advice.

1 like

I do feel for you I packed up work when I was 57. My conditions have got worse and even though I would love to work I cannot say if I can do a full day let alone a full weeks work. I have worked with asbestos for over 10 years and all I have been told is it is not eating me yet. (But a long story goes with this)

I think that if you can do the job still then I would research what can be done to make your working conditions better. Full masks with cool extraction etc.

I hope you can get it sorted!

Be Well


Hi i have been off work for a year now i worked in 2 warehouses where patients notes were stored

My job was a medical records clerk it was very physical climbing ladders carrying heavy boxes of folders and such like

i went to see my O/H Dr and now am back to work on a phase just doing 3 hours a day still working within the medical records dept but more clerical sat at a desk ask to see your O/H Dr and he or she should advise your dept what job would suit your needs good luck

ps i have lung cancer which is being treated


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