Mesothelioma sufferer sends urgent appeal to back compensation claim
Did you work at Burgess Welding & Engineering Ltd?
A Simpson Millar LLP client suffering from the asbestos-linked disease Mesothelioma is racing against time to track down former colleagues who worked with him when he was first exposed to asbestos.
Michael Stone, now 71, joined Burgess Welding & Engineering ltd in 1963, aged 25. The company was a general engineering firm that manufactured parts for ferries based in Dover and Michael was exposed to asbestos dust through his work as a lathe turner.
He said: "I spent 80% of my time at Burgess Engineering in the workshop. The remaining time was spent on the ferries themselves where I completed general maintenance work as and when I was needed."
During his time on the ships, Michael worked in the engine room where he replaced the main boiler tubes. "The tubes were faulty and in order to replace them with new ones I had to remove the casing from the front. Both the boiler and the pipes were lagged with white plaster asbestos. I remember clearly how there was always a lot of white asbestos dust all over the engine room and on the surrounding surfaces. The lagging was in poor condition and very flaky. The atmosphere was filled with asbestos dust particles but at the time I thought nothing of it and simply brushed it off my clothes."
Unfortunately no insurer can be traced for Burgess Welding & Engineering Ltd and without insurance details Michael will not be able to claim compensation for Mesothelioma caused by his exposure to asbestos. An ex-colleague might just hold the key information that would ensure he gets the compensation he deserves and open the door for others who may have suffered asbestosis or Mesothelioma from working there.
"I worked on the pipes with Doug who was a welder. The foreman at the time was Ken Sutton, and I knew a man called Bob Cavell who also worked as a welder. The owner at the time was Tom Burgess. I just hope someone recognises themselves or someone they know from the Dover area who could be one of these guys. I am running out of time and just want my family to be taken care of when I’m gone. For that to happen I need someone from back then to come forward."
Emma Costin, Partner and Head of Industrial Disease at Simpson Millar LLP, represents Michael and is concerned he may never see a penny: "Unfortunately for Michael, Burgess Welding & Engineering Ltd no longer exists, although new successor companies are still operating from the same site. Where companies have dissolved, changed hands or subsidiaries later sold off, victims frequently hit a brick wall where records have been lost and no one will take responsibility."
"I urge anyone who worked for Burgess Welding & Engineering Ltd in the 1960s, or their relatives, to come forward. They could be in possession of vital information even though to them it might not seem that way."
Emma concluded: "This isn’t just money. It’s about the fact that for decades employers allowed their staff to work in asbestos-filled environments without warning or protection from harm. Where a business is long gone and the records cannot be found, some insurers are able to simply 'dodge the compensation bullet'. Unfortunately, people suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases can’t dodge their illness."
"Mesothelioma is a devastating illness. Often it is a race against time to ensure the victims get what they deserve before they face a very cruel ending."
Anyone who worked or had a relative employed by Burgess Welding & Engineering Ltd between 1960 and 1970 and is willing to help should contact Emma Costin on 0345 357 9000