A former plumber and heating engineer has received £20,000 in compensation after developing asbestosis.
Unite member Albert Bingham, 72, was an apprentice for a building firm from 1957 to 1963, where he lagged boilers in schools, factories and hotels across Lincolnshire with asbestos insulation. The member also cleaned storerooms where asbestos was present, which caused it to spread in the air and settle on his skin and clothes.
The member’s employer never provided him with personal protective equipment (PPE) or warned him about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.
When Albert started to suffer from breathing difficulties he visited his GP, who referred him to a respiratory clinic. Tests found that the member had scarring on his lungs, otherwise known as asbestosis.
He contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a compensation claim. He was awarded a provisional settlement, meaning his case can be reopened if his health deteriorates because of his asbestos disease.
Albert said: “I worked in lots of different places during my apprenticeship but I was never given a mask or overalls to protect myself from the asbestos dust.
“I used to love being active but now I really struggle to get about because of the difficulties I have with my breathing. Knowing that my condition could deteriorate into something more serious than asbestosis is really hard for me and my family to accept. Thankfully, the advice I had from Unite Legal Services means that I can reopen my claim in the future if my health gets worse.”
Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Unfortunately, Albert is one of thousands of industrial workers whose lives have been changed because of the devastating effects of asbestos-related diseases. Despite being exposed to asbestos more than 40 years ago, it has left him with serious breathing difficulties today which can only be managed by taking regular medication.
“Through Albert’s membership of Unite, we were able to provide him with specialist legal advice about asbestos claims, which ensured that he has been compensated now for his conditions, but that he also has a safeguard in place for a future claim should he need to.”