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Lawyer: Fight for Workers’ Justice Must Continue

Workers' Memorial Day


Too many UK workers are still dying needlessly because of sub-standard health and safety measures, a leading industrial lawyer has claimed.

Roger Maddocks, partner and workplace injuries expert at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, was speaking ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28th 2010, which is being officially recognised by the UK Government for the first time this year.

He said the fight for justice for those who had been killed while at work would carry on as long as there were employers did not view health and safety as a priority.

“Thousands of people still die each year in the UK as a direct result of being made to work in unsafe conditions. Health and safety has come a long way in recent years but the figures show there is still much to do,” he added.

“Sometimes they are the victims of tragic but avoidable accidents, or, as with many of our clients, they were exposed to asbestos by their employers many years ago and have, in most cases, been made to suffer a terrible death as a result.

“There is always a devastating story attached and the shocking figures do not reflect the true levels of devastation we deal with on a daily basis as entire families’ lives are torn apart.

“Workers’ Memorial Day has been growing in stature and significance as each year passes – now it has official recognition in the UK this is an excellent opportunity to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives because of their work.”

A number of organisations nationally are expected to mark Workers Memorial Day with events and fundraising activities.

Case Study

Frederick Simpson, from Darlington, was only diagnosed with lung cancer shortly before he lost his battle with the disease on 1st May 2009.

Experts believe the cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos while he worked at ICI’s Billingham Oil Plant.

He was heavily exposed to the killer substance throughout his time there, from 1960s and 70s to the early 80s.

Roger Maddocks, partner and industrial illness specialist at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, is representing Mr Simpson’s family.

He said: “This is yet another example of the scandalous exposure of countless employees to asbestos by employers in the north east – and the tragic outcome is becoming sadly predictable.

“Mr Simpson’s wife and family are devastated at the news of the illness. To discover that he had a life threatening illness because of exposure to asbestos dust 40 years ago is nigh-on impossible to come to terms with.”

Mr Maddocks is still looking for anyone who worked at the ICI Oil Plant in the 1960s, 70s or 80s. “ICI is a huge place, so even if they did not actually work with Mr Simpson, we strongly urge anyone who worked at the Oil plant who may have any information about working conditions at ICI at that time to come forward to help achieve justice for Mr Simpson’s family,” he added.

“We and Mr Simpson’s family would be hugely grateful for any support we can get from members of the public at this stage.”