Unite Legal Services secures compensation for ex-Ministry of Defence employee

Alan Jones contracted a disabling lung disease after being exposed to asbestos as a former dockyard worker employed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

He worked as a health physics monitor at Naval dockyards between 1969 and 1979, monitoring radiation levels on board nuclear submarines. Pipes on submarines were covered with asbestos lagging and when the lagging was removed, asbestos dust was released in reactor compartments and corridors where Alan frequently worked.

Despite the dangers of asbestos being well known at the time, the MoD failed to provide any form of protection to prevent Alan from being exposed. As a result Alan developed diffuse pleural thickening, a condition that causes breathlessness and an increased risk of developing a fatal asbestos disease.

After his diagnosis, he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim of compensation.

Following extensive investigations, Unite Legal Services secured an immediate compensation payment for Alan, with the provision that he can reopen the claim at any time in the future to obtain further compensation should his condition deteriorate due to asbestos-related disease.

Alan said: “I become breathless very quickly, which limits the things I can do. While I can still walk and go out, I have to go at my own pace and take regular breaks just to catch my breath. What is really worrying is not knowing if my condition will get worse.

“The most frustrating thing is that I wouldn’t be suffering like this if the MoD had provided protection or some sort of warning about the dangers of asbestos. I don’t think that’s much to expect from any employer, let alone one the size of the MoD. I am very grateful to Unite Legal Services for supporting my claim and their expertise and doing their utmost for me.”

Susan Murray, from Unite’s Health & Safety Department, said: “Unfortunately, Alan is yet another of our members who suffers from asbestos disease due to employer negligence. The government should have done more to ensure there was sufficient protection in place against the well-known dangers of asbestos.

“As the devastating legacy of asbestos disease has yet to peak, Unite Legal Services continues to hold negligent employers and their insurers to account as well as campaigning to protect workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos in today’s workplaces.”