Around the time of August 2019, Richard started to struggle with increasing shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Shortly after, he had a chest X-ray followed by a CT scan to find out what could be causing these symptoms.
Doctors confirmed that pleural thickening and a build up of liquid was visible on his lungs, most likely caused by exposure to asbestos.
Richard was still working full time when he was diagnosed with pleural thickening, but as his symptoms worsened, he was forced to take time off.
In March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic started, Richard was furloughed because of his respiratory vulnerability. When he did return to work, his hours were reduced to three days a week because of fatigue caused by his lung condition.
How We Helped
Richard spoke to Anthony Waddington who helped him look back into his employment history and confirm where he was exposed to asbestos.
It became clear that Richard’s illness could only be linked to his time as a machine operator at Turner and Newell in the 1970s, one of the biggest producers of asbestos products in the UK at the time.
As a machine operator, Richard would often work with raw asbestos powder that would leave him covered from head to toe at the end of each shift. He was also responsible for cleaning around machinery and collecting asbestos dust that he would inevitably inhale.
Concerns About Asbestos Were Ignored
Richard became aware of the dangers of asbestos after seeing a documentary about it. He’d never been warned by his employer about how it could impact his health and had never been encouraged to wear a mask.
When Richard told his supervisors about what he’d seen, he was told that the documentary was ‘scaremongering’ and that there was nothing to worry about.
After this, Richard began to wear a mask at all times, but the paper masks given to him were ineffective and he was probably still exposed to asbestos dust even with these masks.
The Outcome for Richard
Richard suffers with permanent shortness of breath and fatigue. This has stopped him from working full time until his retirement, which was his plan. He’s now working part time as a delivery driver and is earning significantly less because of his condition.
The company Richard was working for when he was exposed to asbestos had stopped trading, but there was a Trust set up to compensate asbestos disease sufferers who had worked there.
Richard was awarded £33,365 compensation from this Trust, with the potential for further payments in the future.
We helped Richard to claim a lump sum from the government and helped him claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), which recognises Richard’s illness as a result of industrial disease.
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