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Former Dairy Worker Appeals For His Ex Work Colleagues To Help Investigation

Expert Lawyers Help Engineer Suffering From Lung Cancer And Mesothelioma Fight For Justice

09.01.2013

A great grandfather coming to terms with the devastating news that he is suffering from lung cancer and the incurable asbestos-related disease mesothelioma has joined forces with industrial disease lawyers in a bid to trace his ex work colleagues who may be able to shed light on the working conditions he endured.

Ian Raistrick, of Shipley in West Yorkshire, has been battling lung cancer for the past two years, which he believes was caused by exposure to asbestos during his career at the Model Milk Company in Laisterdyke in Bradford, where he worked between 1963 and 1968.

Ian Toft, a lawyer and industrial disease expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office representing Mr Raistrick, is now hoping his ex work colleagues can help provide information about the working conditions at the dairy and to identify the firm’s insurance company. 

Mr Raistrick worked at the dairy and milk bottling plant, which is now called Express Dairy (Northern) Limited, as a maintenance electrician and was responsible for working in the boiler room, where the boilers were lagged with asbestos. The 73-year-old worked alongside contractors commissioned by the firm to build a new boiler, which involved mixing and applying large amounts of asbestos.

Once the new boiler was installed, Mr Raistrick was responsible for repairing and maintaining it, which involved mixing and applying new layers of asbestos about twice a year to keep it running smoothly. He also says the dairy’s maze of pipe work was covered in asbestos lagging, which was often chipped and broken in places, causing a dirty and dusty environment to work in.

Mr Raistrick says he was never warned about how detrimental asbestos could be to his health and was never given a mask or overalls to protect him from the asbestos.

Ian Toft, of Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer and causes so much distress and disruption to victims like Mr Raistrick and their families. At Irwin Mitchell we often hear about people who have worked in boiler rooms and were exposed to asbestos-lagged boilers and pipes on a regular basis. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure despite knowing how dangerous the material is.

“I’d urge anyone who can shed light on the working conditions at the dairy and crucially who the dairy’s insurance company is to get in touch so that we can help Mr Raistrick get the justice he deserves.”

Mr Raistrick, who was born and grew up in Bradford and has been married to his wife Mavis Ann for 53 years, was initially diagnosed with pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs cased by asbestos, seven years ago. Over the past two years he has suffered breathlessness with oxygen and steroids failing to improve his condition. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 and has endured nine lots of radiotherapy.

He said: “I was never warned about the risks of asbestos or given any training, information or protective clothing by the dairy. It was very dirty and dusty in the boiler house, where I spent most of my time feeding the boilers or repairing them. My work often involved crawling around or standing on the main free standing boiler, which chipped off the asbestos lagging.  I couldn’t help but breathe it in.

“Repairing the main boiler was the biggest job which involved asbestos as I had to carry a large 100lb sack of asbestos powder, mix it in an industrial sized bucket and then cover the boiler with the thick mixture. The job would create clouds of dust and it’s just devastating to think this is what has caused my illness.

“I knew when I was diagnosed with pleural plaques a few years ago that nothing could be done to cure the condition or prevent it from eventually taking hold more seriously but it’s horrible to think all of this could have been prevented if I was given more advice and protection by the dairy. I hope my ex colleagues, or people who knew about the management of the dairy, will help Irwin Mitchell find the firm’s insurance company so that we can hold Express Dairies to account.”

Anyone with information about the insurance company linked to Express Dairies, should contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0370 1500 100 or email ian.toft@irwinmitchell.com.

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