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Widow’s Battle For Justice Following Birmingham Worker’s Occupational Lung Disease Death

Appeal Launched To Find Former Colleagues


The widow of a Birmingham worker, who died from occupational lung disease, has launched a search for former colleagues who may be able to help in their battle for justice.

50-year-old Timothy Alfred Dawes from Acocks Green in Birmingham died on 16th July 2009 with chronic lung disease. Mr Dawes first started to suffer with respiratory problems in 2000/2001 and was diagnosed with bronchiolitis; however, it was confirmed that it was still appropriate for him to continue working.

An inquest into Mr Dawes’s death was held on 25th February 2010 before HM Coroner for Birmingham, Michael John Snell, recorded a verdict of respiratory disease in keeping with the consequences of welding.

Mr Dawes leaves behind his wife Diane, as well as three step children Jamie (26), Jade (24) and Ricky (19) who are financially independent.

Now his family are determined to fight for justice and have launched a search to find ex-workmates who may be able to provide additional information regarding working conditions at a number of engineering companies where Mr Dawes worked.

Timothy Dawes worked as a flame cutter for Stanley Profiles Limited from 1975 to 1984. The firm was based at 35 Bull Street, Birmingham. From 1984 to 2000 Timothy continued working as a flame cutter at Flamecut Blank Fabrications Limited and a sister company Flamecut Blank Engineering Limited. The engineering firm was based at Bardford Street, Birmingham. During this time Timothy was responsible for cutting steel into various shapes using propane/oxygen burners. The premises were very small, there were no windows and the walls of the building were black from the fumes.

In or around 2000, Timothy moved to Taylor Steel Plc, based at Forge Lane, Birmingham, where he continued flame cutting for another 1-2 years. Timothy then joined a welding firm called Brook Welding Company Limited in 2002 until his early retirement due to ill health in January 2005. Brook Welding are an active company based at Mary Ann Street, Hockley, Birmingham.

Timothy’s symptoms slowly deteriorated and by the end of 2006 he was permanently receiving oxygen. His immune system weakened, which meant that he was prone to chest infections. In August 2008, Diane had to give up her job as Timothy was no longer able to take care of himself. He died within the year.

Workplace illness expert, Ronan Hynes, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Birmingham, is representing Mr Dawes’s family in their legal battle for justice. He commented: “It is common for exposure to chemicals and materials to increase the risk of occupational lung disease. However, there are ways of preventing these diseases, by employers taking appropriate precautions to protect the health of their employees, which employers are required by law to do.
“In order to gain justice for Mr Dawes’s family, we are trying to trace former colleagues who may be able to recall working conditions at the time. I would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who can recall working practices at Stanley Profiles Limited 1975–1984, Flamecut Blank Fabrications Limited 1984-2000, Taylor Steel Plc 2000-2002 and Brook Welding Company Limited 2002-2005.

Mr Dawes’s wife, Diane said: “Timothy and I met in 1996 and he was always a happy, sociable man who enjoyed sports, particularly football as he was a huge Blues supporter. The children and I are absolutely devastated by his death, it came as a huge shock to us and we miss him very much.

“I used to pick my husband up from work and after a while I noticed his face was pale and his lips looked white. He eventually had to take early retirement as any form of physical exertion was just too much for him.

If anyone has any information which may help with Mr Dawes’s case please contact Ronan Hynes on 0121 214 5483 or email ronan.hynes@irwinmitchell.com