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Irwin Mitchell have secured £80,000 in compensation on behalf of the estate of their late client who developed mesothelioma - the asbestos related cancer - as a result of his occupational exposure to the substance over 50 years earlier.
Mr B sadly passed away as a result of his condition at the age of 77. As a young man he was employed by Swansea Electricity Company in 1958 for a period of five to six weeks as a general labourer at Tir John Power Station in Swansea.
During this time, Mr B was responsible for cleaning up different areas of the power station including a very large boiler room located next to the turbine house; he went into the boiler room every day and was exposed to significant amounts of asbestos dust and fibres which got onto his hands, face and clothes. The boiler room contained a large amount of steam pipework and ducting, the majority of which was lagged with asbestos lagging. Next to the large boiler room was the turbine house in which turbines were also insulated with asbestos lagging.
Mr B worked in close proximity to laggers who mixed asbestos powder in large gallon drums on site with water to form a paste and plastered it onto the turbines. Sacks of asbestos were tipped into drums which caused clouds of asbestos dust and fibres to be released into the work environment and Mr B was heavily exposed to the dust.
Mr B later commenced employment with British Petroleum at its oil refinery in Neath, Wales as a general labourer, from 1958 until 1960. The boilers, ducting and tanks of the oil refinery were also lagged with asbestos. Mr B’s job was to maintain the various industrial plants throughout the refinery and dispose of industrial waste which included large amounts of asbestos lagging and debris. He would frequently clean up after maintenance engineers and laggers who had carried out repairs on defective pipe work, ducting and tanks. He was also required to load old asbestos lagging and debris into a truck and to dispose of it at a landfill site. As a result Mr B came into contact with significant quantities of asbestos dust and fibres which got onto his hands, face and clothes.
Mr B developed progressive respiratory symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath. He was subsequently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.
Irwin Mitchell were instructed and Mr B was able to give a very detailed account of his work history, including the circumstances of his exposure to asbestos, which was documented in a witness statement he signed a little over a week before he passed away.
Irwin Mitchell commenced their investigations, obtaining Mr B’s medical records, identifying the defendants and insurers, and opening negotiations.
As Mr B had worked for both employers such a long time ago, it proved difficult to obtain records of his employment. It was also difficult to identify the correct modern company who were responsible for his employment at Tir John, as over the years the power station had gone through a series of ownership changes as a result of the electricity sector’s privatisation.
Formal court proceedings were issued and the case was eventually concluded when a settlement was agreed with the defendants’ solicitors.
Mark Lennon, a solicitor in the Birmingham office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, represented the personal representatives of Mr B’s estate, said: “Mr B was avoidably exposed to asbestos during his employment at the power station and oil refinery. Before his diagnosis, he was a very active man enjoying his retirement and spending time with his family. He had a great love of music and had visited many different places to see opera performances, such as St Petersburg and Vienna. Tragically this disease cruelly cut short his life and interests and he endured a terrible ordeal through his illness.”
Mr B’s daughter Mrs G instructed Irwin Mitchell to continue the claim after her father passed away;
“My father was very sick at the time he instigated his claim and Irwin Mitchell sensitively helped him piece together his memories. The statement my father made gave my brother and I an insight into his life as a young man and the dreadful working conditions he had to endure in order to support his young family.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Irwin Mitchell for bringing the case to a successful conclusion. We were very happy with the way the case was handled and were always kept informed of progress and included in the decision making process.”
If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.
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