Family Of Former Apprentice Electrical Engineer Appeal For Information To Help Lawyers Investigate

Dad-Of-Two Died From Industrial Illness Following Exposure Over 50 Years Ago

24.04.2014

Two sons are appealing for their father’s former ex colleagues to provide information about the working conditions that he would have endured in order to help specialist lawyers investigate whether more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him.

Richard Hayes, from Southwell, in Nottinghamshire, was 63 when he died on 16 October 2013 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, just months before his death.  Mesothelioma is a terminal illness which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Before his death, Richard told his family he believed he came into contact with asbestos whilst working as an apprentice electrical engineer at Staythorpe Power Station in Newark, Nottinghamshire.  Richard worked there from approximately 1963 to 1968.
 
Richard’s own father had been involved in the upgrading of the power station and had encouraged his son to work there also.  Unbeknown to both of them, the work that Richard was involved in relating to the upgrading of the power station resulted in him being exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres.
 
Richard’s son’s instructed industrial disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions at Staythorpe Power Station. The lawyers are appealing to any of Richards’s former colleagues to come forward with any information to help secure justice for his family.

Nicola Handley, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who is representing the family said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Richard who worked in industries where asbestos was regularly used. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.

“We hope that Richard’s former co-workers and employees who worked at Staythorpe power station will come forward to help answer the many questions his family has about his exposure as well as what measures, if any, were in place to protect employees like him. It’s important that we now help his family get answers about his exposure to the deadly dust.”

Nicola is hopeful that someone will come forward, particularly due to the fact that Workers Memorial Day is on 28th April 2014.  This is a day when friends and families from across the UK gather to honour their loved ones killed because of accidents or illness at work.  Many events and memorials are organised on the day to help remember those who have lost their lives, but also to raise awareness to ensure that these tragedies are not repeated.

The father-of-two only worked at the power station for approximately five years before working as a police officer and then becoming employed as a Social Worker and Probation Officer and committing his time to helping prisoners until his retirement in 2007.

Richard’s sons do not recall their father talking about exposure to asbestos at any other employer and are therefore hopeful that former colleague and employees of Staythorpe Power Station will come forward and assist in their fight for justice. 

Richard first started to show the debilitating symptoms of mesothelioma in July 2013 when he developed a bad cough. Doctors at Kings Mill Hospital in Mansfield carried out investigations and he was subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma. Sadly, his condition was too advanced to treat and he died at home on 16 October 2013.

Andrew Hayes, Richard’s son, said: “My father talked about his time at Staythorpe Power Station and he was proud of the time that he spent working there alongside his father.  However, he did also mention to us that he would have heavily exposed to asbestos dust.

“We really hope his ex work colleagues will now help the team at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the conditions he worked in so we can finally honour his memory and get the answers we deserve about his condition.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Staythorpe Power Station should contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 220 6233 or email Nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com