Devastated Partner Of Former Steel Worker Appeals For Ex-Colleagues To Help Investigation

Justice Sought For Man Who Died From Asbestos-Related Cancer Mesothelioma

16.04.2013

By Suzanne Rutter

The devastated partner of a man who died just one month after being diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma is backing calls for his former colleagues to get in touch as they may hold vital information about how and why he came into contact with the deadly dust.

Before his death in September 2011 at the age of 72, Keith Furniss told his partner of 13 years Glenis that he remembered working with the deadly dust during his career at steel works Jessop-Saville Ltd, where he worked as a labourer from 1954 to 1967, and Sheffield Corporation where he worked in the Public Works Department from 1967 to 1973.

Glenis, of Lower Walkley in Sheffield, has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who are appealing for Keith’s ex colleagues to come forward to help piece together information about the working conditions at the two sites.

Simone Hardy, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office who is representing Glenis, said: “Unfortunately, we know very little about the roles Keith did at Sheffield Corporation and Jessop-Saville Ltd steel works but we hope his ex colleagues can help shed some light on the working conditions he endured and the asbestos exposure that ultimately led to his death.

“Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer and causes so much distress to victims like Keith and their families. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure despite knowing how dangerous it is.

“People have the right to work in a safe environment without the risk of illness and we hope our investigations can finally help Glenis obtain the justice she deserves in Keith’s memory.”

Keith first started to show the effects of mesothelioma at Christmas time in 2010 when he complained of flu-like symptoms. He developed pneumonia and had fluid drained from his lungs.

He was admitted to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield for more fluid to be drained from his lungs in summer 2011 followed by further tests and scans. Specialists then gave him the dreadful news that he was suffering from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer linked to asbestos exposure, and had just weeks to live. He was admitted to St Luke’s Hospice on 27 September 2011 and died just a day later.

An inquest was held at Sheffield Coroner’s Court in May last year where the Deputy Coroner for Sheffield, Julian Fox, recorded a verdict of death due to industrial disease caused by exposure to asbestos.

Glenis, 57, said: “We were absolutely devastated when doctors said Keith was suffering from mesothelioma and that he had just a few weeks left. I don’t think I’ll ever get over his life being cut short so suddenly in such a terrible way. I’ve lost my soul mate to this illness and that’s why I’m determined to find out more about how he came to be exposed to the asbestos and why.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Jessop-Saville Ltd in the 1950s and 1960s and the Sheffield Corporation in the 1960s and 1970s should contact Simone Hardy at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office on 0114 274 4420 or email simone.hardy@irwinmitchell.com.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise related to Mesothelioma Compensation Claims.