Justice For Former Government Electrician Diagnosed With Asbestos Cancer

Industrial Illness Specialists At Law Firm Irwin Mitchell Secure Settlement

23.12.2013

A former Government apprentice electrician, diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer after being exposed to the deadly dust during his work at the Shoeburyness munitions testing site, says he feels ‘justice has been done’ after lawyers secured him a six-figure settlement from his former employers.

The electrician, who wishes to be known as John, 64, from Hockley, Essex was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2012 after suffering from pain in his ribs, a persistent cough and breathlessness. He underwent treatment at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, but has since learnt the disease has sadly spread to his brain which is very unusual.

The former electrician was exposed to asbestos whilst working at the Ministry of Defence’s Shoeburyness munitions testing site, for his employer: the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works (which is now the Department for Communities and Local Government), between 1965 and 1970.

Expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell negotiated an undisclosed six-figure settlement for John following the negligent exposure to the deadly asbestos dust, which will help cover the cost of care when his condition deteriorates and further limits his independence.

John‘s job involved drilling holes in walls and ceilings which were clad with asbestos in workshops and research units.

Father-of-two, John said: “After drilling holes in walls and ceilings, I had to sweep up the dust and debris that the work had created. I was an apprentice. We didn’t really think anything of breathing in the dust as we worked, because we were never told of the dangers or given any safety gear to wear.

“During my apprenticeship, I worked in various buildings on the Shoeburyness site. I did electrical work as part of the refurbishment of buildings. When we were doing refurbishments, all of the trades were working together and I believe I was exposed to asbestos dust from colleagues lagging pipes near me.”

John started suffering from pain and breathlessness in February 2012 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma just two months later following tests and scans at a chest clinic at Southend Hospital and Basildon Hospital.

He added: “It was devastating to find out that asbestos exposure had given me cancer and that my symptoms will get worse. My illness is terminal, so it’s heartbreaking for my family, and now it has spread to my brain. We are all anxious about what the future holds but I am grateful to have the support around me from my loved ones.

“The settlement will be a big help financially when it comes to my care and will help support my family to look after me and help me to battle on against this incurable disease. It does feel like some justice has been done, as my former employer should have done something to protect me and my colleagues from this.”

Alice Humphreys, an asbestos-related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing him, said: “As the delay between exposure to asbestos dust and the onset of symptoms of mesothelioma is more than 30 years in most cases, people like John are only now discovering their health has been affected as a result.

“Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer for which there is sadly no cure. It’s incredibly sad that so many people have developed this illness as a result of a former employer not giving them proper protection. Even in the 1960s and 70s, employers knew of the risks associated with the dangers of inhaling the lethal dust.

“No amount of money can give John his health back, but the settlement will provide him with some form of justice.”