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Billingham Man Diagnosed With Mesothelioma Asbestos Appeals To Former Colleagues For Help

Expert Industrial Disease Lawyers Investigating Circumstances Around Asbestos Exposure


A Billingham man diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos decades ago, is appealing to his former colleagues for help after instructing expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he was exposed to the harmful substance.

Kevin Hind, 68, was diagnosed with the disease in July 2015 after noticing his health had deteriorated and that he struggled to breathe when walking.

The father-of-two believes he may have come into contact with asbestos dust and fibres, which is the only known cause of mesothelioma, during his working life as a messenger boy, a labourer and then later as a sheet metal worker.

Kevin began his working life as a messenger boy and can lad at Furness Shipbuilding Company Limited in Billingham in 1962, where he spent time delivering items to various tradesmen around the shipyard. He recalls visiting joiners and asbestos laggers working on-board the ships in the shipyard.

He told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that the working environment on the ships was extremely dusty and that laggers would often use asbestos to make paste for insulating pipework, which would release the material into the atmosphere.

Kevin then moved on to work for Nelson Thom Insulation Company Limited as a labourer and spent time working at the ICI Wilton Chemical Plant in Billingham in 1963, where his role included mixing dry blue asbestos with water to create a paste that was applied to steel girders.

He told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell, which recently opened a Middlesbrough consulting office, that this was his only job at the site and that he would spend all day loading a mixing machine with the asbestos material.

Kevin also believes he may have been exposed to asbestos while employed by South Bank Insulation Company Limited, where he was employed in 1970 or 1971. He was employed as a sheet metal worker and spent time working at the Smith’s Dock Shipyard in Middlesbrough.

Again he recalls working on-board ships alongside asbestos laggers and that asbestos dust was regularly released into the working environment. Kevin said he was never provided with masks to protect him from inhaling the asbestos during his career.

Grandfather-of-four, Kevin, with the backing of his legal team at Irwin Mitchell, is now appealing to anyone who worked alongside him at the Furness Shipbuilding Company Limited, Nelson Thom Insulation Company Limited and South Bank Insulation Company Limited in the 1960s and 1970s to come forward with any information they have on the presence of asbestos, the warnings in place for employees about the dangers of the material or the safety measures in place.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Kevin, said:

Expert Opinion
“We know from experience representing hundreds of people exposed to asbestos in shipyards that it is extremely likely Kevin regularly came into contact with the material while performing the tasks he has described to us.

“Sadly, we regularly see cases like Kevin’s where workers were not provided with protective equipment and breathing masks to prevent them coming into regular contact with asbestos dust and fibres. Unfortunately, this exposure can lead to terrible diseases, such as mesothelioma, decades down the line.

“We are now appealing to those who worked with Kevin at these companies to come forward with any information they have that could help Kevin and his family understand why more was not done by his former employers to protect him.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Kevin, who has been married to his wife Kathleen for 49 years, said: “Although I could tell my health was getting worse I just put this down to getting older, so when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma it was a complete shock.

“I’m still struggling to come to terms with it and I have started chemotherapy to try and control the disease. Sadly, the disease had already started to impact me and I can no longer do some of the things I used to, such as keeping the garden tidy and decorating our home.

“I’m worried what the future holds for Kath and myself as my symptoms get worse and I am determined to get the answers I need about why I was exposed to asbestos and if more could and should have been done to protect me and my former colleagues.

“Hopefully, some of the people I used to work with will now come forward and help provide any information they can so I can get answers and ensure those responsible are held to account.”

Anyone with information on working conditions at Furness Shipbuilding Company Limited, Nelson Thom Insulation Company Limited and South Bank Insulation Company Limited should contact Emma Tordoff on 0191 279 0104 or email Emma.Tordoff@IrwinMitchell.com.

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.

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