Unite Legal Services has secured compensation for a former pipe fitter who developed the asbestos-related disease, asbestosis.
Michael Adcock, 64, worked as a pipefitter for a Leicestershire engineering company from 1968 to 1986, where he refurbished boilers that were insulated with asbestos.
He would manually remove asbestos lagging from a boiler in a confined space, which caused asbestos dust to circulate in the air and settle on his hair and clothing.
The Unite member worked at the company for four years before his employer provided with him with any protection against breathing in asbestos or warned him about its dangers.
When Michael started to experience shortness of breath he contacted his doctor who referred him for further tests, which confirmed that he had developed asbestosis.
Asbestosis is an incurable and progressive lung disease caused by excessive and prolonged periods of exposure to asbestos.
Following his diagnosis, Michael contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation.
Unite Legal Services went on to secure compensation for Michael on a provisional damages basis.
Michael said: “It’s safe to say that I spent years working quite ignorantly with asbestos, not knowing the damage it could cause to my health. I guess by the time my employer had warned us about the dangers it was quite literally too little too late.
“The compensation I have secured through Unite Legal Services will help with my upcoming retirement, but what I really value is the support and advice I received throughout the legal process, which meant I understood where I was exposed to asbestos and that those responsible have been held accountable.”
Kevin Hepworth, from Unite the Union, said: “Michael, like many thousands of other industrial workers, worked unknowingly about the dangers of asbestos, which has caused irreversible damage to their health.
“Michael should have never worked unprotected but through his trade union membership he has had access to free, specialist legal expertise and has secured compensation for his employer’s wrongdoing.
“By settling Michael’s claim for provisional damages it means that he has the benefit of receiving compensation now as well as legal protection for the future. Should he suffer serious deterioration to his health due to asbestos-related disease, he can reopen his claim and receive further compensation.”