Former Barrow Council Bricklayer Appeals To Former Colleagues After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Industrial Disease Experts At Irwin Mitchell Investigating Exposure To Asbestos Decades Ago

02.02.2016

A former Barrow Corporation bricklayer is appealing to his former colleagues at the local authority to come forward after instructing expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he was exposed to asbestos that caused him to develop mesothelioma.

Dennis Pearson, 66, from Stainton with Adgarley, near Barrow-in-Furness, was diagnosed with the disease, which is caused by exposure to asbestos and affects the lining of the lungs, in August 2015 after suffering with shortness of breath.

He believes the disease developed due to exposure to asbestos decades ago, during his working life. Irwin Mitchell is now investigating how he was exposed and if more could have been done to prevent this and warn him of the dangers of the substance.

The father-of-one told his legal team that during his time working for Barrow Corporation between 1964 and 1971, which later became Barrow Borough Council, he worked on a number of building sites in the town.

He explained that he was involved in building new council houses in Barrow-in-Furness and that asbestos was commonly used in the construction of buildings at this time. He recalled as an apprentice bricklayer, cutting down large sheets of asbestos with a hand saw or angle grinder, which would lead to asbestos dust and fibres being released into the working environment.

Dennis also recollected building an extension on the Victoria Girls’ School, which required him to remove asbestos-lagging from pipework in the existing building. He also recounted maintaining boilers at schools operated by Barrow Corporation and working alongside other tradesmen who repaired pipework.

He said asbestos was often disturbed during repair work and that the environment was often very dusty, he was never provided with protective equipment or training on how to handle asbestos correctly.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that can cause a significant amount of pain and suffering for those, like Dennis, who were unfortunate enough to be exposed to it through their employment.

“We regularly hear from those who have developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, that the risks of handling the substance was never communicated to them and that they weren’t provided with protective equipment to prevent them inhaling asbestos, despite employers knowing for decades that the substance was a danger to health.

“Dennis is understandably extremely angry that he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos and wants to know why more wasn’t done to protect him and his colleagues.

“We are now calling for anyone who worked alongside Dennis at the Barrow Corporation, which is now Barrow Borough Council, to come forward with information they have on the presence of asbestos at work and the measures, if any, in place to protect workers.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Dennis said: “I’m still struggling to fully come to terms with my mesothelioma diagnosis and what that means for my future. Since my diagnosis my health has begun to deteriorate and I don’t have as much energy as I used to.

“I recall regularly working with asbestos while I was employed by the council and that we were not provided with breathing masks or other protective equipment to prevent our exposure to it.

“Now I’m appealing to my former colleagues who worked on council buildings in Barrow alongside me to come forward and help provide my legal team with the information they need to get me the answers I’m looking for.”

Anyone with information on the presence of asbestos at building sites, homes and schools operated by Barrow Corporation and the protective measures in place at these locations should contact Emma Tordoff on 0191 279 0122 or email Emma.Tordoff@IrwinMitchell.com