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Family Devastated By Father’s Asbestos Death

Expert Lawyers Appeal To West Bromwich Scaffolder’s Former Colleagues


The daughter of a former scaffolder who died of an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her father’s former colleagues to come forward in the hope they have vital information about how he was exposed to the deadly dust.

Father-of-four Gary Williams, from West Bromwich died on 14 July 2013 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs, in October 2012.

Before his death, the 66-year-old instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to prevent him coming into contact with asbestos and now his daughter Claire is continuing the battle for justice on his behalf.

She is backing calls by Irwin Mitchell for Gary’s former colleagues at the British Building and Engineering Association (BB and EA) where he worked as a scaffolder from 1965 to 1971 to get in touch. It is believed they could hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos at the various sites Gary was contracted to work at, as well as the working conditions at the company.

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The family were still struggling to come to terms with the loss of Gary’s wife Betty, who died suddenly in the summer of 2012, when he was given the devastating news that he had a terminal illness caused by exposure to asbestos.

“Before his death he told us that he could remember erecting and dismantling scaffolding at Rugeley Power Station and Round Oak Steel Works in Brierley Hill and them both being very dusty jobs due to the amount of asbestos lagging that was disturbed by the ongoing maintenance work.

“We are very keen to hear from any of Gary’s colleagues at British Building and the Engineering Association and also staff at Rugeley power station and Round Oaks steel works as they may hold vital evidence that could help in the family’s battle for justice.

“Employers have been well aware of the dangers of exposing staff to significant levels of asbestos since the first Asbestos Regulations were published in 1931, so there is no excuse for Gary not to have been warned about it or provided with protective clothing such as a mask.”
Iain Shoolbred, Senior Associate

The recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of Percy McDonald puts additional onus on the occupiers of factories (including Power Stations)   to ensure that all personnel engaged in work on factory sites are properly protected against substantial dust generated in its processes. 

Gary was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2012, one month after being sent for a routine chest X-ray due to health issues he suffers following a back injury. The scans showed fluid on his lungs and a shadow which a biopsy confirmed was caused by the aggressive and fatal cancer.

The grandfather-of-nine underwent radiotherapy to try and control the cancer but sadly passed away in July 2013, leaving his family heartbroken and desperate for answers.

Daughter Claire, 29 and from West Bromwich, said: “We were all absolutely devastated when our mum died and to find out just two months later that Dad was battling a terminal illness was very hard to come to terms with.

“Before his death, Dad could vividly remember the scaffolding jobs at Rugely Power Station and Round Oak Steel Works as being dusty due to such extensive maintenance work being carried out to asbestos insulation. 

“As a family we have been through a horrendous time over the last two years and we want to see justice for what happened to our Dad. Sadly he never got to finish his legal battle, but we’re determined to fight on for him as we know that’s what he would have wanted.

“We just hope anyone who thinks they have information, no matter how small, gets in touch as it could truly make such a huge difference.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Iain Shoolbred at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email iain.shoolbred@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our expert mesothelioma solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.

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