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Merseyside Cable Factory Worker Appeals For Former Colleagues To Boost Investigation

Irwin Mitchell Helps Granddad Suffering From Asbestos-Related Disease Seek Justice


A father-of three-coming to terms with the distressing news that he is suffering from asbestos-related illness is appealing for his former colleagues to help specialist industrial disease lawyers investigate why he was allowed to come into contact with the deadly dust.

William Harrison, of Whiston in Merseyside, was diagnosed with pleural plaques and asbestosis in April this year, which is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. He believes he was exposed to asbestos during his career at the British Insulated Callendar Cables factory in Prescott, which was well known in the local area as BICC.

The 73-year-old has now instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office who are appealing for his ex work colleagues to get in touch with information about the working conditions he endured to help him in his battle for justice.

William worked at the factory, which made electrical cables, from 1964 to 1968 where he was responsible for covering the cables with a plastic coating. William says the factory was riddled with asbestos pipes, which workmen were often called in to repair. The workmen would hack off the asbestos lagging, which created a lot of dust and debris, before mixing new asbestos paste to lag them.

After a brief stint away from BICC in 1969 he returned to work at the firm later that year until he was made redundant in 1985.

William said: “I used to work alongside the maintenance teams at the factory who were called in when the massive maze of pipe work needing fixing. They worked next to me and my other colleagues and there was no segregation or protection from the clouds of dust they created when they knocked off the asbestos lagging from the pipes.

“It was a very dusty, dirty job and bits of asbestos littered the workshop floor so it was impossible not to breathe it in but we were never given any masks for protection.

“Later in my career at the company I was also given asbestos gloves to wear when I was handling hot cables but they became worn and frayed.

“I feel awful knowing that I’ve now got to deal with this illness just because I went to work every day at the factory. I was never warned about how dangerous asbestos could be for my health and I wish my employers had done something sooner to protect me and everyone else who worked there.”

William, who has been married to his wife Iris for 45 years, first started to show the symptoms of asbestosis earlier this year when he had trouble breathing and suffered recurring chest infections and coughs. He was admitted to Whiston Hospital in January when his breathlessness got particularly bad and was prescribed antibiotics to try and clear it up.

His GP referred him for further tests and scans when his condition worsened and his weight plummeted. In April 2012 doctors at Whiston Hospital broke the news to him that he was suffering from asbestosis.

William, a father of three and a grandfather, added: “I’m really worried about my illness and the fact  there is nothing that can be done to cure it. I’ve been given inhalers and oxygen but I get breathless just walking between the living room and the kitchen now and I have to take my time going up the stairs and getting dressed.

“I hope my ex work mates will help Irwin Mitchell find out more information about why I was allowed to come into contact with asbestos at BICC.”

Geraldine Coombs, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester officer representing William, added: “William and his family are still coming to terms with the news that he is suffering from asbestosis.

“At Irwin Mitchell we see many cases where factory workers like William are suffering debilitating health problems simply because they went to work every day to provide for their families.

“We urge anyone who worked at BICC from 1964 to 1985 to help us with our investigation so that we can get William and his family the justice they deserve.”

Anyone with information should contact Geraldine Coombs at Irwin Mitchell on 0161 838 3061 or email geraldine.coombs@irwinmitchell.com.

Our expert asbestos lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved one has suffered due to an asbestos related illness. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.