Insulation worker’s family in mesothelioma victory

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Insulation worker’s family in mesothelioma victory

4th July 2013

A labourer who worked with asbestos every day for two years in the 1970s, died after he developed the industrial disease mesothelioma 35 years later.

Susan Dawson, a specialist in asbestos-related personal injury claims with Fentons Solicitors, said the Essex man had sadly died just nine months after doctors diagnosed the cancer.

“I was able to speak with him shortly after he’d been diagnosed with mesothelioma, so we were able to begin his claim against his former employers,” said Susan. “Then, following my client’s death, his family continued the legal fight he had started.”

Susan explained that her client had given a detailed account of how he had been contracted to work on site at an oil refinery in the mid-seventies, and how his job was to assist other workers - known as ‘laggers’ - by carrying and helping prepare the asbestos-filled lagging that they would then apply to pipe work as insulation. “He told me that hewould regularly have to go into what he described as a barn-like building to pick up the bags of lagging mix,” she said. “These were then loaded onto a trailer and my client would have to deliver the bags to the laggers.”

Susan said the man – who was in his 60s at the time of his death – had described the bags as ‘very dusty’.  “He said some were open and they were often torn,” she said. “He would be covered in the lagging mix dust when loading and unloading the bags, and he would stand next to the laggers as they worked in case they required his help mixing the lagging or they needed any more materials.”

Susan said her client would then have to clean up after the laggers, sweeping up the discarded insulation and the huge amounts of dust.

“He told me that at the end of the working day, he would be covered in asbestos dust and the first thing he would do when he got home was to jump in the shower to wash it all off.”

Susan said that - despite the nature of the work and the hazardous materials he was exposed to - her client was never warned about the dangers of working with asbestos or provided with a protective mask. “He even wore his own clothes to work,” she said. “His employer provided no overalls, no face mask - nothing at all that would protect him from the harmful dust.”

It was four decades letter when the man fell ill, following a family holiday. “He was increasingly suffering from breathlessness and began to feel too tired to do anything,” she said. “When he saw his GP he was referred for urgent tests the very next day. He was admitted to hospital that day, where he remained for the next two weeks, undergoing a procedure to drain his lungs of fluid before being given the shattering diagnosis.”

Susan said the man’s employers admitted liability for his condition shortly after proceedings were issued. “Although nothing can make up for the family’s loss, my client was anxious that his wife, children and grandchildren would be financially secure following his death,” she said. “By pursuing the claim he himself had begun, we were able to successfully negotiate a settlement of £170,000 on his family’s behalf.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.