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Teaching Assistant Calls On Former Colleagues For Help After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Specialist Industrial Disease Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure


A woman who spent 25 years working at Honley High School as a cleaner and a teaching assistant is appealing to her former colleagues for help in her battle for justice after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos decades ago.

Lorraine Carter, from Honley, West Yorkshire received the diagnosis in January 2015 after consulting her GP when she began to feel lethargic and couldn’t stop coughing.

The mother-of-two has now instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office to help investigate when and where she was exposed to asbestos during her time at the school. She is hoping to seek justice from her employers, Kirklees Council, for failing to prevent her exposure to the hazardous substance.

Lorraine, 62, is one of a growing number of former school employees who are being diagnosed with the terminal cancer. The latest figures available showed that in 2012, 22 school teachers’ died from mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos.

A total of 291 school teachers have now died of mesothelioma since 1980, with 177 deaths since just 2001.

Lorraine believes she was exposed to asbestos whilst working at Honley High School between 1990 and 2015, initially as a cleaner and also later as a teaching assistant. During her time working at the school, Lorraine believes she regularly came into contact with asbestos due to maintenance and building work at the school.

She recalled that in her period working at the school she was exposed to dirty and dusty environments during construction periods and that she was required to frequently clean up after this work had taken place.

Lorraine believes she may also have been exposed to asbestos as a result of her husband Steven’s employment as works engineer for Huddersfield Dyeing Company.

He was employed by the company in the late 1970’s as a works engineer and frequently came home in his boiler suit, which would have been covered in asbestos dust and fibres as a result of the daily tasks that he undertook on the boiler which was lagged with asbestos. 

Lorraine recalls shaking his boiler suit out before washing and may have breathed in the dust when it was released into the air.

Steven has been unable to recall any of his former colleagues at the company and also hopes they may come forward to provide information about the working conditions at the company.

Nicola Handley, an expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which has a significant impact on the lifestyle of those affected by it.

“The disease is usually associated with heavy industry, but we are seeing a growing number of women being diagnosed with the disease due to their own exposure to asbestos decades ago and indirect exposure because of their husband’s work.

“Lorraine and her husband Steven have understandably been left devastated by her diagnosis and have concerns about what the future will hold. The family also want answers as to why and how she was exposed to asbestos.”

Lorraine said: “I feel that the public should know about the hidden dangers that could lead to mesothelioma and other terrible industrial diseases. I thought I was in a safe job, but now I find I’m among a small but growing number of former school employees who find themselves with this terminal condition.

“I was given no warnings, training or information about the risks and dangers of potential asbestos exposure and had I known I would never have visited the schools while construction work was going on.

“The chance that my husband’s employment may also have led to my exposure to asbestos adds insult to injury. If more safety precautions were put in place by his employer at the time, he would not have brought asbestos dust home with him.

“I hope our former colleagues will come forward with the crucial information my legal team requires to bring my former employers to justice.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions Lorraine was exposed to during her time working at Honley High School or the working conditions that Steven Carter would have worked in at Huddersfield Dyeing company should contact Nicola Handley on 0113 220 6233 or email Nicola.Handley@IrwinMitchell.com

Our expert mesothelioma lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.

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