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Irwin Mitchell Settles Tragic Mesothelioma Case

Irwin Mitchell’s Asbestos Related Disease team has settled the case of a man who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to the deadly dust in the 1950s.

Exposure To Asbestos

At the age of 15, Mr John Ridge began work at Doncaster Works, South Yorkshire. By 17 he was old enough to begin his apprenticeship and embark on learning a trade as a Fitter Grade 1 and Loco Erector. The thrill of working with large steam locomotives appealed to Mr Ridge’s boyhood fascination with locomotives.

From 1954 until 28 December 1960, Mr Ridge spent time stripping and maintaining steam locomotives at the Doncaster plant. The stripping involved removing the components of the boiler from a locomotive for refurbishment and repair.

Thick asbestos lagging would encase the boilers, including the firebox and barrel. A purpose made asbestos mattress would cover the firebox and an asbestos blanket would be wrapped around the joints of the smoke box.

Mr Ridge would pull the asbestos mattress away with his bare hands and rip off the asbestos cloth. He would be surrounded by great clouds of asbestos dust that would fill the air. He didn't wear a face mask as he worked. His employer never warned Mr Ridge of the dangers associated with asbestos.

This remained Mr Ridge’s sole exposure to asbestos. He went on to enjoy a successful career, culminating in his retirement as a company director.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

At the age of 71, at a time when Mr Ridge was enjoying his retirement after many years of a working life, he learnt of his fatal diagnosis of mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by exposure to the deadly dust. A few short months later, he sadly lost his battle with the illness and died.

Mr Ridge’s lawyers, asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell, successfully settled his case. His solicitor, Satinder Bains from the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell, commented: "An employer of this size and stature ought to have known better than exposing their workforce to such deadly material as asbestos.

"It was not beyond their comprehension that asbestos was dangerous. At the time of Mr Ridge’s employment there was sufficient developing knowledge of the dangerous nature of asbestos dust."

Satinder added: "Mesothelioma is a tragically aggressive and terminal occupational disease. It kills approximately 2,200 people in England and Wales each year, with sufferers having a median life expectancy of only seven to nine months from diagnosis."

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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