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Son And Daughter Of Former Factory And Council Worker Appeal For Ex Colleagues To Help Investigation

Industrial Illness Specialists At Law Firm Irwin Mitchell Working With Family in Battle for Justice


By Suzanne Rutter

The son and daughter of a former fuel industry machine operator and school caretaker who died of asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma are appealing for his former work colleagues to help lawyers investigate how he was exposed to the deadly dust.

Archibald McPhail, of Rossington in Doncaster, died aged 75 after battling the aggressive cancer mesothelioma which is known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. At an inquest held at Doncaster Coroner’s Court in December the Coroner confirmed Mr McPhail was exposed to asbestos during his career as a machine operator and school caretaker and concluded that Mr McPhail died of an industrial disease.

Specialist industrial illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are now working with Mr McPhail’s son Malcolm McPhail, and daughter Sue Nealon, to investigate why he was exposed to asbestos so they can finish the claim their father started and obtain justice.

Mr McPhail worked for Coalite and Chemical Products Limited, a smokeless fuel producer, in Rossington, from 1971 to 1980. For the first 18 months of his employment he operated a machine which discharged fuel into the large coke ovens.  He then moved on to be part of a team that undertook repairs and maintenance at the premises.

Before his death, Mr McPhail said that the repair work he undertook often involved removing and replacing lengths of asbestos rope used to seal the coke ovens.

Mr McPhail also worked as a school caretaker for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council from 1980 to 1992. He worked at Rossington Comprehensive School, Intake Middle School, and at Grange Lane School.  He worked in school boiler houses and other school buildings which he believed contained asbestos.

His daughter, Sue Nealon, said: “It was a terrible shock to the family when our father was diagnosed with mesothelioma. It’s such a horrible illness and to think he only got it by being dedicated to his work is very hard to come to terms with.

“I just hope someone can come forward with information about the work that our father did on the coke ovens and as a school caretaker as they may be able to help us find out why he was exposed to asbestos.”

Denis O’Gorman, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office representing them, said: “Mr McPhail’s family are naturally distraught at his death.   Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for the victim’s and their families.

“The illness is caused by exposure to harmful asbestos dust and fibres but it can take several decades for symptoms to appear, so it can be very difficult to confirm the circumstances of the victim’s exposure.

“We are looking to speak to anyone who might have worked with Mr McPhail at Coalite and Chemical Products Limited, or anyone who has information about the working conditions he endured working for Doncaster Metropolitan Council as a school caretaker. Any details provided may be vital in helping the family’s battle for justice.”

Anyone with information should contact Denis O’Gorman at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office on 0114 274 4422 or e-mail denis.o’gorman@irwinmitchell.com.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise related to Mesothelioma Compensation Claims.