Mesothelioma solicitors at Irwin Mitchell secured compensation of £310,000 for an ex-employee of the National Coal Board after he contracted the asbestos-related cancer from the inhalation of asbestos fibres during his employment.
Exposure to asbestos
Mr Thomas, who retired in 2008, was by profession a senior architectural technician. A member of the British Institute of Architectural Technicians, Mr Thomas was employed by the National Coal Board between 1978 and 1989.
As part of his responsibilities, Mr Thomas would undertake site inspections and he visited many new build schemes, collieries and workshops across the Midlands, including the Kellingley Colliery, the Grimethorpe Colliery Pithead Baths Rehabilitation, the Prince of Wales Colliery, the Shafton workshops and stores, the Bestwood workshop in Nottinghamshire and the Markham workshop, in Chesterfield.
The refurbishment work exposed Mr Thomas to asbestos dust, as buildings were being stripped of asbestos. The National Coal Board provided Mr Thomas with a basic paper mask, but he was never warned by his employer of the dangers associated with asbestos.
Diagnosis of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has a very poor prognosis and short life expectancy. At the time of his diagnosis in April 2012, Mr Thomas was retired and was enjoying spending time with his family.
Battle for justice and final settlement
The National Coal Board denied liability despite overwhelming evidence. Irwin Mitchell started court proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice. Judgment was entered and the Judge ordered the release of an advance payment of £50,000 in compensation. The matter was successfully settled soon after for £310,000.
Satinder Bains, Partner in our Birmingham Asbestos-Related Diseases team, commented: “This was a desperately sad case in that Mr Thomas looked back on his employment with the National Coal Board with pride. Being such a loyal employee, it was hard to accept that they were responsible for failing to safeguard his health and safety in such a negligent manner and put him into direct contact with asbestos.
You would certainly have expected a statutory corporation such as the National Coal Board to have behaved more responsibly and safeguarded the health of its employees. However, all Mr Thomas was provided with was a basic cloth face mask.”
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