Lawyer Secures Access to Justice for Asbestos Victim

Compensation for Asbestosis Sufferer

14.07.2010

A Gateshead man who spent almost two decades being exposed to asbestos at work and went on to develop Asbestosis has today said 'justice had been done' after receiving an undisclosed sum to help support him as his health deteriorates.

Robert Bullock, 67, was awarded an undisclosed sum after instructing lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to pursue a claim against Shield Brothers Ltd and North Tyneside Council.

He worked for Shield Bros as a steel fixer from 1970 until 1983, and later as a labourer at North Tyneside Council from 1984 to 1993 and was exposed to asbestos at both.

While working for the council, Mr Bullock was promoted to general foreman in 1988 and, although he was responsible for safety, was given no training on how to handle asbestos.

His lawyer, Isobel Lovett, industrial illness specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Mr Bullock worked hard for a number of decades and in the course of his employment with both Shield Brothers and North Tyneside Council, he was exposed to large amounts of asbestos dust.

"At Shield Bros, Mr Bullock’s job should not have required him to be exposed to asbestos – but he worked alongside laggers who were creating asbestos dust.

"His experiences at North Tyneside Council were both revealing and, frankly, deeply concerning. He was in charge of safety but he himself had received no training on how to handle asbestos. This was the late 1980s when it was widely known that it was dangerous and the duty lay firmly with employers to protect their workforce with whatever means necessary.

"We have secured a settlement for him but this will never give him back his health. Mr Bullock will also be given further damages in the future if his health deteriorates through asbestos-related lung cancer or Mesothelioma."

Mr Bullock said: "Looking back, there was nothing you could do – people just got on with their jobs. I was forced to retire with ill health in 1993 and have had to live with the effects of asbestos since then and so I am delighted that now justice has been done and I have what I need to live the rest of my life as comfortably as possible.

"The lack of precautions and safety training taken by my employers means that instead of enjoying my retirement I have to dread the potential impact that asbestos has had – and will continue to have – on my health."