A member of Unite North West Region who developed asbestosis has received £20,000 in provisional compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.
The 73-year-old Unite member from Preston worked for an asbestos contractor at a number of industrial sites across Lancashire in the 1950s and 1960s where he would remove asbestos from boiler insulation and mix it into a paste with his hands. This would cause dust to circulate around the poorly ventilated area.
The member’s employer did not provide him with protective equipment, meaning he would breathe in asbestos dust.
The member visited hospital when he started to suffer from breathing difficulties and pain in his chest. Doctors carried out tests and found that he had developed asbestosis.
Asbestosis is an incurable condition where the tissue of the lungs becomes damaged after breathing in asbestos, causing them to partially lose their function. Some people with the condition go on to develop terminal asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma.
The member contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a compensation claim. He received a provisional settlement, which allows him to reopen his case should his health deteriorate because of the asbestos disease.
His wife said: “When my husband worked with asbestos, we had no idea that it could damage to his health. It was such a shock to find out that he had been diagnosed with asbestosis, and knowing that there’s always a chance it may develop into something far more serious is heart breaking.
“It’s been a difficult time, so having the backing of Unite Legal Services to help us through our case has been excellent, and knowing that we will have its support again in the future if we need it is very reassuring.”
Mick Whitley, North West regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Despite working with asbestos more than 50 years ago, our member has only just started to see the devastating affects it can have on your health.
“We’re urging any of our members who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease to contact us as we will fight to hold those responsible to account and ensure they receive 100% of the compensation secured for them.”