Inquest Finds Dad-Of-Two From County Durham Died From Industrial Disease
A widow is warning of the dangers posed by asbestos and chemicals in the workplace after an inquest concluded her husband’s death was caused by him being exposed to them during his career.
Joseph McGuckin, of Chester-le-Street, died aged 78 in March. He had been diagnosed with two cancers - including a rare form of blood cancer – linked to exposure to asbestos and chemicals, including benzene.
An inquest at Crook Coroner’s Court concluded the dad-of-two, who worked at the ICI North Tees Oil Refinery, just South of Seaton Carew, died as the result of industrial disease.
Joseph’s wife Brenda, 77, has now joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in calling on employers not to ignore their responsibilities when it comes to hazardous materials.
Brenda is appealing for his former workmates to come forward with information about working conditions at ICI North Tees Oil Refinery.
Expert Opinion“Joe’s loved ones remain understandably devastated by their loss and Brenda has shown tremendous strength by seeking to gain answers.
“While the inquest has answered some the of the family’s questions, they still have a number of concerns as to how and why Joe was exposed to the hazardous materials which caused his cancer.
“We are appealing to anyone who worked at the ICI North Tees refinery to come forward with information and help Brenda honour her husband’s memory by establishing exactly how he was exposed.
“Sadly Joe’s death is one of a growing number of cases we are dealing with which relate to asbestos and chemical exposure in the petroleum industry. We call on employers to recognise the dangers posed by asbestos, benzene and other chemicals so the problems of the past are not repeated.” Emma Dumbleton - Solicitor
Joe and Brenda married in 1963 and he is survived by his loving wife, two children and four grandchildren. Their children, Gillian, 46, and Andrew, 40, have joined Brenda in calling for his old workmates from ICI North Tees to come forward.
Joe worked at the ICI North Tees Oil Refinery as a maintenance fitter from 1966 to the early 1974. During his time at the site, it is believed he was exposed to asbestos, benzene and other chemicals used in the petroleum industry.
In 2017 Joe was diagnosed with myelodysplasia – a rare type of blood cancer associated with certain chemicals and exposure to asbestos. He then went on to be diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung which is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.
Joe instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate. Brenda took on his quest for answers following his death.
She said: “Joe was the most loving and caring husband and dad who adored his family. He remained active for his age and enjoyed gardening, DIY and holidaying in our motor home, something we sadly had to give up when he became poorly.
“We were devastated when Joe was told the news he was ill. To be diagnosed with one form of cancer was hard enough to take. To then to be told he also had another form cancer was unbelievable. It was heart-breaking to see him towards the end as the cancer took hold.
“We know nothing can bring Joe back but we feel more needs to be done to warn of the dangers of asbestos and chemicals so others don’t have to suffer like Joe.
“We want to honour his memory by getting justice for what he went through. We would be grateful for any piece of information to help our family piece together exactly why Joe was exposed.”
After leaving ICI North Tees Refinery Joe went on to work at Hartlepool Power Station and then became a self-employed haulage contractor.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sonia Akram at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 434 0719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively contact Emma Dumbleton on 0191 279 0105 or email email@example.com