Lawyer Launches Bid For Justice Against Employers

Firm Instructed To Investigate Claim

23.12.2010

A Hartlepool man killed by asbestos was exposed to the deadly substance for years without ever being warned of its dangers by his employers.

Henry Carr, who died of Mesothelioma in February 2010 aged 76, said before his death that although he never played with asbestos, his colleagues were so oblivious to the devastating effects of the asbestos that surrounded them that they would make snowballs out of its killer fibres.

Now his daughter, Suzanne Carr-Smith, who now lives in Buckinghamshire, has instructed Isobel Lovett, industrial illness specialist at law firm Irwin Mitchell, to investigate a claim against her father’s former employers.

Lovett says Mr Carr’s exposure to asbestos is believed to have taken place whilst working for three different Hartlepool companies – Central Marine Engine Works at William Gray Shipyard, from 1948 to 1953, Head Wrightson Stampings Ltd, on Brenda Road, from 1960 to 1965, and at South Durham Steel and Iron Co Ltd, from 1966 to 1984.

She added: “We believe Mr Carr was negligently exposed to asbestos on a daily basis for the majority of his working life. It’s therefore hardly surprising that he fell so ill – but that doesn’t mean it was any less devastating for him or his family.

“Mr Carr and his colleagues were given no safety or protective equipment, nor were they warned about the dangers of the substance which had become a part of their lives. Not knowing any better, Mr Carr’s colleagues saw it as a plaything to lighten the mood at break times.

“By this time, the dangers of asbestos were well known by employers, and there is no doubt that, at the very least, masks and ventilation equipment should have been provided. Mr Carr is yet another example of a man who has paid the ultimate price for nothing more than going to work every day.

“Although nothing we do can bring Mr Carr back, we are attempting to secure justice for his family and need to hear from anyone who may have worked at any of these companies at the same time as Mr Carr, whether they knew him or not.”

In a written witness statement left before he died, Mr Carr said: “I wore my own overalls to work and looked like a snowman at the end of each day as the asbestos powder would be in my hair, all over my overalls and on my skin.

“We were not given any masks to wear and nobody told us at the time that asbestos could be dangerous – we didn’t know anything about it.”

Mr Carr suffered from Pleural Plaques, Pleural Fibrosis and Mesothelioma, which are all linked to asbestos exposure – he was diagnosed with the latter in November 2009 and died just three months later.

Mrs Carr-Smith said: “My father was taken so quickly and we were all devastated. He had been diagnosed with Pleural Plaques five years ago but he first noticed Mesothelioma symptoms from early 2009. His condition worsened quickly and he struggled to get around the house.

“He had a stairlift installed, and needed a reclining chair otherwise he couldn’t sit comfortably. He became unable to walk the dog or do work around the house.

“Instead of being able to enjoy a long and happy retirement, my father grew painfully ill very quickly – he did nothing but work hard to provide for his family his whole life yet has been taken from us prematurely.”

Anybody who worked at any of the above companies at around the same time as Mr Carr should contact Isobel Lovett at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0104.