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Former Sheet Metal Worker To Take Asbestos Battle To Court

Lawyers Help Investigate How a North Shields Man Was Exposed To The Deadly Dust


A former sheet metal worker who suffers from the industrial illness asbestosis has instructed expert lawyers from Irwin Mitchell to issue court proceedings against manufacturing giant, Caterpillar, as he continues his fight for justice against his previous employers.

Joseph Grainger, 79, from North Shields, Tyne and Wear, was diagnosed with pleural thickening and asbestosis following a scan during August last year.

Both illnesses are caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres and he believes it was during his employment at Caterpillar Limited in the 1950s and 60s that he came into significant contact with the deadly dust.

DIY loving Joseph, who lives at his home with wife Ann, began working for Birtley Engineering Company in 1949 before leaving in 1956 for National Service. When he returned to the company in 1958 as a sheet metal worker, the business had been taken over by Caterpillar Limited.

Joseph recalled that he cut sheets down to size as contractors were brought in to line the factory walls with asbestos and also worked alongside the contractors as they sprayed the lethal substance onto panels. He worked with the contractors continuing the same alleged exposure to the material for over two years.

Roger Maddocks, an industrial disease expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, is now representing Joseph in his battle for answers. He said: "Like many others working in a similar industry, victims like Joseph are now suffering with the notorious symptoms that working with asbestos can leave you with decades later.

"We have investigated Joseph’s case and we are now issuing court proceedings against Caterpillar as we seek to secure a fair settlement for his illness.

"Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.

"People affected by exposure to asbestos, through no fault of their own, are entitled to justice from their former employers to help provide financial security to their loved ones and where possible provide for the necessary therapies and treatments so they can concentrate on spending time with their family."

Joseph first developed symptoms of what he now knows as an asbestos-related disease in March last year when he came down with a persistent cough.
Although initial x-rays did not show up anything irregular, Joseph’s GP was certain his health was not as it should be, so he was referred for a scan.

Asbestosis can put victims at greater risk of other more serious asbestos-related diseases and Joseph says he and his family just want answers about why he was exposed to the dust.

Grandfather-of-two Joseph said: "I remember the atmosphere of the factory where the contractors worked was really dusty due to the spraying of asbestos. We were not provided with any masks to wear.

"I have always been a 'hands on' guy and I love doing DIY. Sadly, I now get out of breath doing the smallest of tasks, so I am not as active as I used to be.

"My wife and I just want answers and hopefully we will achieve justice soon so we can focus on our lives together."

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.