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Family Of Former Manchester City Council Worker Appeals To Former Colleagues After Asbestos Death

Expert Lawyers Instructed To Investigate Companies


The widow of a former incinerator worker who died from asbestos related cancer last year is appealing to her husband’s former colleagues to come forward to help with an investigation.

Roy Birch, from Heywood, in Oldham was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos in May 2013 after developing a chest infection and shortness of breath.

His widow Joan instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions at two companies he worked for in the North West during his career.

The 85-year-old was employed for decades by Manchester City Council and worked as an incinerator worker at a Heywood incinerator and waste disposal site from 1959 to 1974. He then moved onto a job as a crane operator at another incinerator site in Middleton from 1974 to 1980.

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“Roy and his family were devastated following the diagnosis of this debilitating disease and now his family are having to come to terms with their tragic loss.

“We know that employers have known about the risk of using asbestos for many decades. The first asbestos regulations came into force in 1931. Sadly our work shows many did not do enough to protect workers from the harmful dust and fibres and too many people are now suffering from asbestos-related diseases decades later.

“We hope that anyone who has any information regarding the working practices and presence of asbestos at either Heywood or Middleton incinerator sites during this period of time will come forward and help us with our enquiries as it could prove vital in obtaining justice for Roy’s family.”
Dominic Hemsi, Partner

Joan, 78, said: “I can’t begin to put into words how devastated our family is after losing Roy to this terrible disease. It was extremely difficult to see his health deteriorate right before our eyes.

“Before his illness, we led an active life and we would often go out for meals, go on holiday and were very independent. As Roy became ill, he struggled to get out and about and I cared for him at our home.

“I would like to urge of Roy’s former colleagues at either the Heywood or Middleton sites to come forward with any information about the working conditions to help us fight for justice in his memory.”

Anyone with any information about the working conditions at any of the above sites where Roy worked is asked to contact Dominic Hemsi at MPH Solicitors (part of Irwin Mitchell) on Dominic.hemsi@mphsolicitors.co.uk or call 0161 259 1517.

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