Factory Worker Appeals for Info after Terminal Asbestos Cancer Diagnosis

3rd November 2019

A former Engineer has today issued an appeal for people who worked at the below sites to come forward with information about the conditions of his workplace after doctors diagnosed him with the asbestos-related cancer.

If anyone has information of the working conditions and relevant safety procedures that were in place at the time to protect staff from exposure to the harmful dust and fibres, in 1973 at Marley Buildings, Magnet Joinery between 1982 and 1984, or Imperial Chemical Industries/Invista Textiles Ltd from 1988 to 2007, to please come forward and contact Helen Grady of Simpson Millar on freephone 0808 129 3320.

Michael Griffin, 68, from Gloucester visited his GP late in 2017 with a persistent cough and breathlessness, further to which a scan revealed a build-up of fluid on his lungs.

On 31st July 2018, he was given the devastating diagnosis of Mesothelioma

He had surgery as part of a trial at Barts Hospital on 19th December 2018 and had two cycles of chemotherapy before this surgery.  He is currently recovering at home and is hoping to have future treatment.

He is now appealing for anyone he worked with throughout his career to help him gather the facts or other people who worked there and may have some knowledge of asbestos at the sites and has instructed leading industrial disease experts at Simpson Millar to help him establish where and when his exposure took place, and whether it could have been prevented.

Michael said: “My family and I are devastated at my diagnosis. I’ve always led an active lifestyle, and it came completely out of the blue.

“My wife and daughter have had to provide me with care as I have been very poorly at times. My wife has been signed off work to care for me, and my daughter has had to take days off work to help out.

“I was never warned of the dangers of asbestos, and never provided with any protective gear at any of my jobs. I’m desperate now for answers as to why more wasn’t done to protect us and would urge any of my ex-colleagues, or other people who worked at the sites, to come forward with information that might help.”

In 1973 Michael worked for Marley Buildings in Gloucester as a Garage Erector, where he recalls unloading big 6 x 4 corrugated asbestos panels for garage rooftops. 

He said: “When I worked for Marley Buildings, I remember the asbestos cement panels for the roofs very well and I used to use a hand saw to cut them to size and fix them up on to garage rooftops.  This was daily exposure and I did not wear a face mask.”

Between 1982 and 1984 he worked for Magnet Joinery in Gloucester as a Warehouse Foreman, where he would often have to drill through asbestos corrugated roof panels. 

He continued: “At Magnet Joinery, the warehouse ceiling was very high and there was a mezzanine level as I remember maintenance men often standing on this level and working on this near to the asbestos ceiling. The dust coming off the roof panels made the warehouse dusty. 

 “I was often up on the higher level, near to the asbestos roof panels, checking stock.  I often worked alongside electricians who were doing re-wiring jobs and maintaining the lighting.  I saw on occasions that they were drilling through the asbestos roof panels creating even more dust.

“I used to sweep up some of the dust when clearing out stock.  There was always a layer of asbestos dust on the boxes of stock from the roof.  This asbestos dust would get onto my clothing and hands when I came into contact with this.  I wore my casual clothes, and these got dusty.”

Between 1988 and 2007, Michael also worked for Imperial Chemical Industries as a Process Operator, which was later taken over by Invista Textiles (UK).  

Michael said: “I worked at Golf Club Lane in Brockworth for Invista Textiles as a Process Operator. The factory was a very large and extremely old building with asbestos lagged pipes everywhere.

“The asbestos lagging was thick and fibrous and in a dreadful state, making the whole factory dusty.

“There were no windows in the factory, and there were also overhead extractor fans, which may have blown the asbestos around.”

A former workmate remembers seeing specialist asbestos removal contractors coming into the premises in around 2004 on more than one occasion to remove the asbestos from the factory.

He continues: “I just want answers as to why I wasn’t protected from the asbestos when it was obviously so deadly. Hopefully, this will provide some closure to my family and to help us deal with this awful situation.”

Helen Grady of Simpson Millar’s specialist industrial disease team who is representing Mr Griffin in his battle for answers, said: “We are looking to speak to anyone who worked at Marley Buildings in 1973, Magnet Joinery between 1982 and 1984, or Imperial Chemical Industries/Invista Textiles Ltd from 1988 to 2007, to gain an understanding of the working conditions and relevant safety procedures that were in place at the time to protect staff from exposure to the harmful dust and fibres.

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