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Former John Lewis Worker’s Family Appeal For Help In Asbestos Investigation

Industrial Disease Experts Looking for Electrician’s Ex-Colleagues From Cole Brothers Store


By Dave Grimshaw

The wife of a former electrician who died of the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, is appealing to her late husband’s former colleagues who worked with him at the Cole Brothers store in Barker’s Pool Sheffield to help with an investigation into his death.

Tom Tynan worked at the John Lewis store in Sheffield as an electrician, employed by Keith Boultbee Ltd which is now a defunct company. Mr Tynan was 55 when he died and leaves a widow, Stella, who is a classroom assistant and their three grown up sons.

An employer’s liability insurance policy cannot be traced for the period when Mr Tynan worked at Cole Brothers from 1976 to the early 1990s when he believed he was exposed to asbestos while undertaking electrical work at the store. However, because he was diagnosed with mesothelioma before July 2012, his family would not be entitled to compensation under the Government’s new Mesothelioma Bill – which is currently going through Parliament.

Mr Tynan’s family have instructed expert asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions he was exposed to and, also to try to track down the insurance policy details. Together they are now appealing for anyone who may have worked with Tom who has any relevant information to come forward and help the family get justice.

Adrian Budgen, head of the specialist asbestos-related disease team at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It can take several decades from the initial exposure to asbestos for symptoms of illness to appear but, once they do, the consequences are devastating for those people affected.

“In some situations, it is impossible to find evidence of the asbestos victim’s employer’s insurance records where firms have since ceased to exist many years ago. While the Government has tried to address this issue with the promise of a compensation scheme to help those who cannot trace an insurer, the law only applies to people with mesothelioma who were diagnosed before 25 July 2012.

“We need people who worked with Tom at the John Lewis store, or with him at Keith Boultbee Ltd, to provide us with information so that we can help his family track down the relevant insurer.”

Tom’s wife, Stella, said: “It’s very disappointing that the new insurance scheme will simply not provide for many thousands of victims and families. Employer’s Liability Insurance was compulsory from January 1972 onwards so it seems convenient that some policies just seem to have disappeared.

“My husband worked hard all his life so, to find out that his employers had put him at risk of terminal illness by letting him go to work every day without the appropriate protection, is just devastating.

“It’s disgraceful and just seems madness that people diagnosed just days apart with the same condition caused by asbestos exposure are set to be treated so differently. A payment from the new government scheme would give me some financial security as it was obviously a massive shock to us when Tom died so young.”

Anyone with information should contact Adrian Budgen on 0114 274 4420 or email adrian.budgen@irwinmitchell.com.

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