Partner Of Former Labourer Calls For Ex Colleagues To Help Investigation

Justice Sought For Factory Worker Who Died From Asbestos-Related Cancer Mesothelioma

28.02.2014

The devastated partner of a former factory worker who died after battling an incurable industrial illness is appealing for his ex colleagues to help specialist lawyers investigate whether more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him from the deadly asbestos dust.

Arthur Harry Scriven, of Gorleston in Great Yarmouth, died aged 89 after a nine-month battle with mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres.

Before his death Arthur told his family he believed he was exposed to asbestos while working as a labourer at egg box factory Hartmann Fibre Co Limited in Great Yarmouth, which later changed its name to Omni-Pac UK Limited.

Arthur, who worked for the firm between 1960 and 1966, operated the industrial machines used to make the egg boxes and he regularly handled large asbestos sheets used in the production process.

Izza Dhidahe Benyoussef, Arthur’s partner of 10 years, has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell and together they are appealing for Arthur’s ex colleagues to come forward with information to confirm Arthur’s recollection of how Hartmann Fibre Co Limited may have used asbestos.

Martyn Hayward, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Izza, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress to victims like Arthur and their families. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to protect their employees from the harmful effects of asbestos and Arthur paid the ultimate price.

“We know the firm has used asbestos in the past because Omni-Pak were fined £50,000 following a prosecution at Norwich Crown Court in 2003 after an investigation showed blue asbestos lagging discovered at the firm’s South Deans Road factory was in a disturbed state. It was found that the primary source of asbestos contamination was from damaged and poorly maintained asbestos insulation on top of dryers used to produce the finished papier-mâché egg cartons. The company admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

“We hope Arthur’s former workmates will be able to confirm details about how Hartmann Fibre Co Limited used asbestos in the 1960s and if more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him so that we can help Izza honour Arthur’s memory and get the answers she deserves.”

Arthur worked for Hartmann for nine years, and before his death, he told Izza about the dusty environment he worked in at the firm. He said he cut the asbestos sheets to size every day before the material was mixed with paper to make egg boxes. He said the air was always thick with asbestos dust and fibres.

Mr Scriven first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma in summer 2011 when he suffered a persistent cough. His GP referred him to the James Pagget Hospital in Gorleston where further tests and scans confirmed he was suffering from mesothelioma in April 2012. He died on 29 January 2013.

Izza, age 62, said: “Losing Arthur has been a heartbreaking blow for the whole family and it’s incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact we’ve lost him to such a terrible illness.

“We first started to notice his symptoms during the summer of 2011 and at the time Arthur just thought it was his asthma flaring up. There was no improvement and I begged him to go and see his doctor. Sadly, the prognosis wasn’t good and we lost him nine months later.

“I hope his ex work mates from Hartmann Fibre Co Limited will now help me get the answers I deserve about Arthur’s asbestos exposure so I can finally honour his memory.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Hartmann Fibre Co Limited, which is now called Omni-Pac UK Limited, in the 1960s should contact Martyn Hayward at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office on 0114 274 4420 or email martyn.hayward@irwinmitchell.com.