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Secretary Who Took Second Job As Cleaner Told She May Have Developed Asbestos Cancer Sweeping Of Factory Floors

Carolyn Webster Is Hoping Former Colleagues Can Help Her Find Out How She Became Exposed To Deadly Asbestos Dust

16.02.2017

Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

A secretary who took a second job as a cleaner at the factory where she worked is appealing for help from former colleagues after she was told she may have developed asbestos-related cancer during her daily sweep of the factory floor.

Carolyn Webster, 57, from Crawley, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare form of the terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, in September 2016.

She instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her find out how she could have been exposed to deadly asbestos dust.

Carolyn’s symptoms began only in May last year when she suffered from stomach pain and bloating. Following a battery of tests and scans, the grandmother-of-two was diagnosed with the terminal illness and immediately began chemotherapy.

Her legal team believe she was exposed to asbestos while working in administrative roles within factories in Gatwick and Crawley in the 1970s and 1980s. Firstly at KDG, a company which manufactured depth gauges, from 1972 to the late 1970s, and later Roband, between 1980 and 1984, where she also worked as a cleaner.

Carolyn said: “It’s been such a huge shock to me and my family and I am just at a loss as to how this could have happened.

“I can’t change what has happened to me, but I would really like some answers so I’d please ask anyone who used to work at the factories or anyone who can shed light on the working conditions there, to come forward and help me, if nothing else to help my family understand why this has happened to me.”

While at KDG’s Fleming Way premises in Crawley, Carolyn prepared invoices for the dispatch department and helped the accounts team with credit control. The office space was located within the factory buildings and so Carolyn had to walk across the main factory floor to enter her office, something she remembers as being very dusty and dirty.

When she moved over to Roband in 1980, Carolyn helped with pay roll, assisted the receptionist and dealt with typing. Although her office was away from the main workshop, she used to have to go out onto the factory floor to collect clocking cards from the factory workers and deliver their wages. While at Roband she took a second job as a cleaner, sweeping the factory floors after the workers had left for the evening.

Expert Opinion
“Peritoneal mesothelioma is an extremely rare and very aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure and it can cause a great deal of pain and suffering for victims like Carolyn, who now simply wants answers as to how she were exposed to asbestos.

"We are supporting Carolyn by investigating conditions at her former places of work and we have now issued legal proceedings in the hope she will get the answers she wants.

“All too often we see cases like Carolyn’s where workers spent time working in dusty environments around asbestos and were not provided with protective equipment. It can take decades for symptoms to develop and often it is then too late for victims to recall how and where they were exposed.

“In Carolyn’s case, despite being mainly an administrative worker at both companies, she should have received protection against asbestos as her jobs took her onto the factory floors.”
Natalia Rushworth-White, Solicitor

Anyone with any information regarding the working conditions at KDG or Roband in the 1970s and 1980s should contact Natalia Rushworth-White at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3900 or natalia.rushworthwhite@irwinmitchell.com

If you or a loved one has suffered due to an asbestos related illness, our specialist asbestos claims team can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.

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