Call For Information On Action Mesothelioma Day Regarding Working Conditions At Darlington Site
A former engineering worker from Darlington who was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer last year is appealing for old colleagues who worked with him at Cleveland Bridge’s Smithfield Road site in the town to help him gain justice regarding his illness.
Jeffrey Robinson, 76, developed symptoms including chest problems and breathlessness last summer and, following an X-ray, he was informed that he had fluid on his lungs. In November, medical experts confirmed that he had developed mesothelioma, the terminal cancer of the lining of the lung commonly linked to exposure to asbestos.
Jeffrey is speaking out on Action Mesothelioma Day in the hopes that his former colleagues will come forward to help him secure justice for his illness.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive, and terminal, form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, often decades before victims begin to suffer with symptoms. According to the latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) more than 2,500 people in the UK lose their lives to the disease every year.
Following the news, the grandfather-of-two instructed legal experts in Irwin Mitchell’s Asbestos-Related Disease team to investigate how he developed the illness and whether more could have been done to prevent it.
As part of their ongoing work, the lawyers are now appealing for anyone who worked with Jeffrey during his time employed at Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company Ltd’s Smithfield Road site across three decades to come forward with information regarding the working conditions he faced.
He was initially employed by Baxter Brothers to work at the site in two spells between 1963 and 1965 and from 1966 and 1967, before then working for Hunting Painting Contractors Limited at the site between 1972 and 1973. He then worked directly for Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company Ltd from 1973 up until his retirement in 2002.
Kirstie Devine, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who represents Jeffrey, said:
Expert Opinion“Throughout our work we have sadly seen a huge number of cases in which individuals have been exposed to asbestos during their work and only discovered the true consequences many decades later.
“Our client is understandably devastated by his diagnosis and undoubtedly deserves some answers regarding how he came into contact with asbestos.
“We would be hugely grateful to anyone who is able to assist us with our investigations into this case.” Kirstie Devine - Solicitor
Jeffrey’s spells at Baxter Brothers and Hunting Painting Contractors both involved him undertaking industrial painting work at Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company Ltd’s property on Smithfield Road in Darlington. He was based at the same site when he joined Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company Ltd in 1973.
Mesothelioma is most commonly associated with heavy industry and the building trade and the vast majority of deaths from mesothelioma are in people over the age of 65. It is predicted that mesothelioma deaths will continue to rise every year before reaching a peak in about 2020.
Looking back he recalls: “The Smithfield Road site was a huge place and through my time there I was employed as an industrial painter, a foreman and finally an inspection manager.
“I can clearly remember how the building was in poor condition and I recall colleagues telling me that many of the walls and even the roof were made of asbestos sheeting. It was quite common for machinery and structures in the building to scrape against the sheets and this tended to release dust and fibres into the air. I worked at the site up until the late 1980s or early 1990s when the company moved to new premises on Yarm Road.”
Action Mesothelioma Day aims to bring together victims of the disease, those who have loved ones affected by the disease, healthcare professionals, support groups and those working to understand the disease and find a cure, to ensure the public are aware of the terrible impact it can have on sufferers and their carers.
Jeffrey added: “This illness has had a huge impact on me, as I used to be fairly fit and active but now have lost weight and also have limited mobility.
“I used to be a fairly active person but now can barely walk the dog, while I also used to do plenty of gardening and also help with the shopping. It is frustrating to see how the illness has affected me and even harder to take when I consider it may have been caused by my work.
“If anyone can help me gain some answers regarding what I am facing it would be hugely appreciated.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Kirstie Devine at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0136 or email Kirstie.Devine@IrwinMitchell.com.