Ford pays out after fuelling industrial disease

A former Ford tool maker has been awarded £33,000 in compensation after he developed asthma from almost two decades of exposure to chemicals at the Dagenham plant.

Ronald Hymans, 60, from Essex operated machines that cut iron and steel. He was given a basic particle mask, but it did not provide protection against coolant spray particles.

He began to develop intermittent chest complaints in 2007 and was later diagnosed with occupational asthma. Eventually in 2011 Ronald’s condition meant he was re-assigned to office work for the rest of his career.

“I have been left with life-long breathing difficulties and I am now classed as partially disabled,” said Ronald Hyman.

“It is an extremely frustrating and limiting condition that has a very negative effect on my quality of life, I can’t even walk my dog without getting out of breath.”

Unite Legal Services set about making a claim for their member. Ronald had previously started his claim with a local ‘No Win No Fee’ solicitors firm but they had dropped his case at the first hurdle, accepting medical evidence suggesting his condition was pre-existing.

Unite Legal Services' dedicated industrial disease solicitors weren't so easily put off and secured £33,000 compensation for Ronald.

Unite regional secretary, Peter Kavanagh, said: "This case proves the importance of union membership and the quality of legal care that our members can expect.

“Ronald would have missed out on significant compensation if he had not approached Unite Legal Services for a second opinion."