Former Brewery Worker Awarded Compensation for Asbestos Illness

Posted on: 1 min read
Simon Rosser

Personal Injury & Disease Litigation Solicitor

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We helped a man in his 80s get compensation after he was diagnosed with an asbestos related illness, as he’d been exposed to the substance at work many years earlier.

David, a man in his 80s, started becoming breathless and developed a persistent cough. His symptoms came out of the blue, and he would struggle for breath when carrying out basic tasks such as getting out of bed or going up the stairs.

He decided to see his GP, and he was eventually referred to hospital, where he was diagnosed with benign asbestos pleuritis.

David got in touch with our specialist Industrial Disease Solicitors, as he felt he could only have been exposed to the asbestos that caused his illness at work.

After speaking with him, I agreed to help him claim compensation on a No Win, No Fee basis, so he could get the care, support and rehabilitation he needed.

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Investigating the Claim

I began looking into David’s working history, as it was important to work out exactly where and when he could have been exposed to harmful levels of asbestos.

He believed he was exposed to asbestos while working for a well-known brewery firm during the 1960s to the 1980s. This involved close contact with vessels, tanks and pipes that were lagged with asbestos to keep them insulated, and he’d often return home from work with his clothes covered with asbestos dust.

I also arranged for David to be assessed by an independent respiratory consultant, who produced a report outlining his condition in detail and confirming that he had asbestos-related bilateral diffuse pleural thickening

Steps that should have been taken

A report from an occupational hygienist expert was also arranged, which said there was a real risk of harm being caused by asbestos on the site and that steps should have been taken to prevent asbestos being released into the air.

For example, they could have:

  • Replaced asbestos insulation with a non-asbestos alternative
  • Keep insulation clean and in a good state of repair
  • Cleaning up asbestos dust

Safety Failings Caused Asbestos Exposure

I contacted David’s former employer with details of our claim, pointing out the specific failings that led to him being exposed to asbestos at work, including:

  • I contacted David’s former employer with details of our claim, pointing out the specific failings that led to him being exposed to asbestos at work, including:
  • Failing to prevent David from coming into contact with asbestos
  • Failing to provide adequate ventilation
  • Not devising or operating a safe system of work
  • Not giving David a suitable place to put on, take off and store protective equipment and clothing
  • Not making sure protective clothing and work surfaces were regularly cleaned

We also argued that the brewery firm either knew or should have known that asbestos dust and fibres on the premises could cause harm to anyone who inhaled them.

These failures meant that David was put at serious risk, and directly led to him being diagnosed with an asbestos related illness almost fifty years later.

What Was the Outcome?

Following negotiations with the company, and a threat to issue proceedings, the brewery’s insurers confirmed that they would be prepared to settle the claim without the need for proceedings to be issued and David was awarded £35,000 in compensation.

David was very pleased with the outcome, following which he recommended Simpson Millar to AASC, the Welsh Lung Support Charity that helped him.

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