Asbestos warning sign

Client develops mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos dust

This mesothelioma industrial disease claim involved a gentleman, Mr H, who did a number of jobs throughout his working life, all of which presented some exposure to asbestos one time or another.

Mr H first left school to undertake his car mechanic apprenticeship and began work with a garage which is no longer in existence. It is possible that Mr H came into contact with asbestos when changing car and clutch parts in this role.

Mr H then worked for a Ford dealer in Sidcup. Throughout this time, Mr H worked on brakes and clutches on a daily basis, also doing some heel and toeing of the brakes and parts, cutting them to size using a file or rasp. The brakes and clutches likely contained asbestos. Mr H did work of this type of work for a number of years.

Mr H moved roles and switched to maintaining heavy plant on motorways. He did not have to file and rasp the brake and clutch parts on the heavy equipment; however Mr H did do this from time to time on lighter vehicles. For this work, Mr H had to get down and lean his face close to the brakes area in order to dismantle and replace them. The brakes and surrounding area was always full of dust and Mr H would breathe this in time and time again. He carried out this task hundreds of times.

Mr H worked for several companies over the years doing similar clutch and brake work. These parts very likely contained asbestos, therefore he was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis for a number of years.

Mr H’s work on brakes and clutches sometimes meant that the he would have to access the heavy plant from underneath. The dust would regularly fall onto Mr H and he would breathe this in on a daily basis.

Mr H moved away from vehicle maintenance and began to work at a stone quarry in Maidstone. He would process the quarry rock into smaller sizes via a sieving process, which used two different sizes of screening. This would create a large amount of dust.

Throughout this time, demolition materials were also delivered to the quarry for the claimant to process. This material probably and inevitably had asbestos in it as it came from buildings that had already been demolished. Mr H had to process this material in the same way as the quarry rock.

At one point, near the end of his time working at the company, Mr H was given a white suit, however it was never explained why this was necessary. The company was shut down by the Health and Safety Inspectorate due to a lack of safety equipment and due to the unsafe system that the employees were working in.

At no point throughout his working life did Mr H wear any protective clothing or mask, and he was never provided with one by his employers. Mr H’s health was not medically monitored and no annual x-rays were undertaken. As far as he was aware, Mr H’s employers did not carry out any monitoring of the work sites at all and he knew nothing at all about asbestos when he was carrying out his work.

Just over 10 years after Mr H finished working, he began to suffer with a shortness of breath and eventually lost power in his right arm. Around a year later he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mr H approached Thomson Snell & Passmore, however sadly died shortly afterwards. Thomson Snell & Passmore were able to negotiate an out of court settlement of £92,000 for Mr H’s estate in compensation for his pain and suffering.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in mesothelioma cases.  If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential industrial disease case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jonathan at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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