Unite member receives six-figure compensation after developing mesothelioma

A former joiner received a six-figure compensation payment after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

Over the course of his career, the member had a number of jobs where he was exposed to asbestos. In 1963 he was employed by a Yorkshire company where he cut asbestos sheeting used to insulate fire doors and removed asbestos guttering.

From 1988 to 2003, he worked on hospital buildings with asbestos ceiling tiles and building materials. He was often required to sweep up asbestos dust as a result of repair work.

Both employers failed to provide him with suitable protection to prevent exposure to asbestos dust which would also settle on his skin and work clothes.

The member later developed a painful cough and shortness of breath. He was prescribed antibiotics by his GP. When the symptoms didn’t improve, he was sent for further tests that revealed he had developed the terminal asbestos disease, mesothelioma.

He contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation.

Tragically, after receiving the compensation payment during his lifetime the member died from mesothelioma at the age of 66.

His wife said: “My husband had always been an active man, but his health deteriorated so much so that he couldn’t even go up and down the stairs.

“Even in his condition he was always thinking of others and wanted to do whatever he could to stop people going through what he endured. The chemotherapy meant that some of his organs were unsuitable for donation, but he was able to donate his corneas in the hope that they could be given to someone who desperately needed them.

“The help of Unite Legal Services was invaluable to me and my husband, providing support when we needed it the most to make sure we had compensation for what has happened.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “For more than 40 years our member worked with asbestos without realising the devastating affects it was having on his health and sadly, he lost his battle less than a year after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

“This case demonstrates the value of Unite membership and the importance of having immediate access to free, specialist legal support of the highest professional quality and unrivalled experience to fight for full compensation for our members and their families when they are most in need.”