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Former Demolition Worker In Battle For Justice After Contracting Asbestos-Related Disease

Dad-Of-Three Appeals For Information To Assist Lawyers’ Investigations


By Suzanne Rutter

A former heavy machine operator is coming to terms with the devastating news that he is suffering from an incurable asbestos-related disease is appealing for his ex colleagues to come forward with information about the working practices at his former employers.

Kenneth Kell, from Allerton in Bradford, was diagnosed with pleural thickening, which is linked to asbestos exposure and causes the lining of the lungs to thicken resulting in serious breathing difficulties, in 2011.

The 52-year-old, who was known as Kenny to his family and friends, worked as a machine operator and driver for Gomersall Demolition who were based at Marshfield Street in Bradford.  Kenny worked for them for approximately two years from 1979 to 1981/82. Kenny can recall regularly coming into contact with the deadly asbestos dust whilst working for the company.

Kenny’s job at Gomersall Demolition involved him undertaking demolition work at various mills, garages and factories throughout West Yorkshire, including a Harvesters restaurant in Bradford.  Kenny can also recall regularly coming into contact with asbestos sheets and insulation boards which he removed from buildings and broke down into pieces before they were disposed of.

The father-of-three has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell and together they are appealing for Kenny’s ex colleagues to come forward with information about the working conditions at Gomersall Demolition and key information about the firm’s insurance company.

Nicola Handley, an industrial disease expert from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Pleural thickening is a serious illness which can be very distressing for victims like Kenny and their families. More than 2,000 people die from asbestos-related illnesses every year despite the fact employers knew how dangerous it was.

“Kenny wasn’t given any protective clothing or warned about the dangers of working with asbestos during his career.  It is awful that he is now ill simply because he went to work every day.  Kenny was aware of the fact that demolition work could be dangerous, particularly as two of his former colleagues have died following crushing accidents on site.  However, he was never made aware of the dangers of the deadly asbestos dust. 

“We hope to speak to as many of his ex colleagues from Gomersall Demolition as possible, particularly if they know information about who provided the firm with employer’s liability insurance cover, so we can get Kenny the justice he deserves.”

Kenny first realised that he was seriously ill when he collapsed whilst at work in October 2011. He underwent a bronchoscopy, a biopsy and drainage of a pleural effusion at St James Hospital in Leeds before he was diagnosed with the debilitating condition.
He said: “My job at Gomersall Demolition involved driving heavy construction vehicles, which had a pulveriser or a breaker on the end to demolish the old factories, mills and garages we worked on.

“Most of the time I carried out my work outside of the factories or mills we were demolishing but sometimes I had to drive into the premises and work from the inside, which created an even dustier environment. I regularly used the machines to break up large asbestos sheets before they were disposed off in skips.

“It was incredibly dirty and dusty work and I got covered in dust every day even though I was sat in my cabin. I couldn’t help but breathe it in, particularly when it was warm when I left the windows of my cabin open.  I was never warned about how dangerous asbestos could be for my health or given a mask to wear to protect me from the worst of it.

“It’s absolutely devastating to think that I could be suffering from this terrible illness simply because I went to work every day all those years ago. I hope my ex work mates will come forward with information about the working conditions I endured and who the firm’s insurance company is so that I can get answers to the many questions I have and get the justice I deserve before it’s too late.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Gomersall Demolition, or the company’s insurers, should contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 220 6233 or email nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com.

For more information about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise relating to Pleural Thickening Claims.