Unite Legal Services supports member with £145,000 mesothelioma claim

A Doncaster man has secured £145,000 compensation with the support of Unite Legal Services after exposure to asbestos caused him to develop a fatal lung disease.

The man worked as a foreman electrician and contractor at various power plants, factories, steel works, cement works and collieries in North East England from 1964 to 1997. The Unite member would often work alongside laggers who would apply asbestos insulation to boilers, which would break off into dust.

After suffering from breathing issues his GP referred him to hospital where scans found fluid on the lining of his left lung, which was later diagnosed as mesothelioma. He contacted Unite Legal Services to support his compensation claim.

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “A series of failings by numerous employers throughout our member’s career has left him with a debilitating asbestos disease. Even when he was given protection it was completely inadequate, and not once was he warned about the dangers of working with the material.

“He and his family turned to Unite Legal Services in their time of need and we worked quickly to establish where and when he was exposed to asbestos, so that they were clear how he had come about to suffer such a horrendous disease.”

The Unite member added: “It wasn’t until the late 1970s that I was given protective masks to cover my face and nose. Even then, the material was so thin it didn’t do much to stop me breathing in the asbestos dust and in many cases they were completely redundant because the laggers’ work would cause lumps of asbestos to fall near or, at times, even on me. At no point were these working practices questioned by my employers.

“Leaving the house is almost impossible now. I’m completely reliant on my family who, thankfully, couldn’t be more helpful. They have supported me with my claim, guiding me throughout the process so that those responsible have been held to account to what has happened to me.”