Unite secures £36,000 for member with asbestosis

An 84-year-old Unite member who developed a serious lung condition because of asbestos exposure during his career has secured a provisional settlement. 

He worked for a manufacturing firm from 1959 to 1963, and then an electrical company between 1964 and 1976. In both jobs, he would work alongside laggers as they removed old asbestos and mixed new asbestos insulation. In some instances, he would lean on asbestos blankets as he worked, unaware of the damage it was doing to his health. 

“During my 17 years at the two firms, I was never once told that the asbestos dust could severely damage my health,” he said. “I would be filthy by the end of my shift because of the amount of asbestos present, but nothing was done to stop this. We were expected to just get on with it.” 

His GP referred him for a scan after he visited his surgery suffering with breathlessness. The scan found his lung tissue had thickened – caused by the asbestos-related disease, asbestosis. 

Unite Legal Services helped him make a compensation claim. He secured a £36,000 provisional settlement, meaning he can reopen his claim if he develops a more serious asbestos disease, such as mesothelioma. 

“My diagnosis has made me worry about my future and how I can support my family if my condition deteriorates,” the Unite the Union member added. “However, the settlement has helped ease my concerns, as I know that I have legal backing should the worst happen. If it wasn’t for Unite Legal Services, I don’t think I would have ever been awarded the compensation, so I am extremely grateful for what they have done.” 

Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Asbestosis is a debilitating condition that can make everyday tasks challenging – from showering, to walking and just getting dressed. The thought that it could develop into something more serious, such as mesothelioma, can make sufferers feel helpless.

“Unite Legal Services is committed to empowering those who have been affected by asbestos disease, helping them to hold employers to account and enabling them to secure compensation that can help support their families in the future. As Unite Legal Services take no deductions, the member is at least £9,000 better off than if had used a no win no fee claim company.”