Unite supports Essex family after asbestos death

A substantial compensation sum has been secured for the family of an Essex man who died from the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He would repair machinery lagged with asbestos while working at a power station from 1952 to 1970, and later at a factory in Dagenham between 1970 and 1990. At both locations, he would also come into contact with asbestos that was being removed and replaced by colleagues, as it would circulate in the air around him, but he was never given advice or equipment to protect him.

Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary from Unite the Union, said: “It is always terrible to hear the pain and suffering our members have endured, simply because they were not protected from asbestos while at work. In this instance, our member was routinely exposed to the fatal dust for a significant proportion of his career, with no warning of the damage this could cause.”

The Unite member was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014 and his health rapidly deteriorated, dying months later. His son is also a member of Unite the union and turned to Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.

“Dad become very reliant on my brother and I after his diagnosis,” the son said. “This hit us hard, because we were all so used to him living independently. It was something that he prided himself on. Suddenly, he needed round-the-clock care, which was horrible to see.

“My dad, brother and I have been Unite members for years, so we knew exactly where to turn for help. Our family began to understand the number of people that tragically suffer from asbestos disease, not just in Essex, but across the UK.”

Mr Kavanagh added: “We were able to locate where and when he was exposed to asbestos, and support a compensation claim that was ultimately successful and paid to the family in full.”