At Asbestos Justice we have recently recovered asbestos compensation for Mr H who was diagnosed with asbestos related pleural thickening.
1972/73 to 1978/79 approximately
Mr H was employed on a full-time basis by a company called Roneo Vickers (Partitions) Limited for approximately 6 years in total. He was employed as a partition erector. The company had just brought out a new fire rated partition system called the “System 100”.
It was when he worked with this system that he came to be exposed to asbestos dust on a regular basis and a detailed witness statement was taken from him in support of the asbestos claim.
Rolls of white asbestos tape were used in the construction of “System 100” to attain fire proof ratings.
He and his colleagues would have cause to attach the asbestos tape to the back of the metal pilaster which was known as a joint cover strip and this would then be knocked into place using a block of wood and a hammer. They worked their way down from the top to the bottom and this resulted in some asbestos dust being released into the general atmosphere which he and his colleagues could not help but inhale. Quite often, a heavy amount of asbestos dust would be released into the atmosphere.
When completing this type of work, their faces were right by the pieces on the pilaster and as they knocked them all into place, the asbestos dust covered their faces, hair and clothes and on some occasions, they would be leaving work looking like “snowmen” due to the layer of asbestos dust which covered them.
The amount of time he spent working with the asbestos tape varied from job to job but he had cause to use it to some extent most weeks. A main part of his work involved building fire resistant partitions and he would use the tape for a few hours on a single office or for days at a time on large office complexes, suffering exposure to airborne asbestos dust throughout such periods.
He can also remember regularly working with asbestos sheets for the company. Asbestos sheets were used for the top infill panels above the partitions and were often present in the ceiling voids. They were also used for boxing in beams and columns for example for fireproofing purposes.
He and his colleagues had regular cause to cut these sheets with circular power saws, handsaws and power jigsaws as well as other various hand tools.
Mr H can remember him and his colleagues being concerned about the potential dangers of working with asbestos materials at the time and he remembers one of his work mate’s wives had recently had a young baby and they were all concerned about the baby’s safety. It was always white asbestos that they worked with, which they took home on their work clothes, back home at the end of the working day.
Alarmingly, Mr H remembers specifically being told by the Defendant that it was only blue and brown asbestos that was considered to be dangerous and that white asbestos was not dangerous at all.
Whenever they used circular saws and jigsaws to cut through the asbestos sheets to fit them to size, a great deal of asbestos dust would be released into the general working environment. Clouds of asbestos dust would rise up into the atmosphere which he and his colleagues could not help but inhale throughout the course of the working day and this evidence was relied upon in support of his claim for pleural thickening compensation. The white asbestos dust covered their work clothes, hair and skin and made them sneeze on occasion. When they carried out this type of work, they would certainly look like snowmen at the end of each working day. It was extremely dusty work.
Working with the asbestos sheets was a regular part of his work for the company. He could be working with the sheets for anything like a few hours at a time up to several days in a row. As well as needing to cut up the sheets with circular power saws, handsaws and power jigsaws, he would have to drill it every 200 to 300 millimetres so that it would screw into place. If they did not drill it into place, it would crack. The drilling of the asbestos sheets also resulted in further clouds of asbestos dust rising up into the working environment throughout the course of the working days. It covered his work clothes, hair and skin. Smaller rooms within offices would only involve working with the asbestos materials for say a few hours at a time but on the larger office contracts, of which there were many, he would be working with the asbestos materials on a daily basis for many days in a row.
He also worked on other partition systems which did not involve asbestos exposure such as the 2LF, metal module system. This had adjustable ferruled legs at the bottom which sat in a track and fitted into a head channel. They were held together with a clip shaped like a letter H and when turned flat, the four legs gripped around posts to be held into position. Metal pilasters would then be knocked in to hold the system into place and this type of work did not involve any asbestos dust exposure.
Another system he worked on which did not involve asbestos exposure was the aluminium composite partition system which was fitted together very much the same as “Meccano”. Each pieced fixed into one another and involved working with plaster board and aluminium which would then be screwed into place. This type of work did not involve any asbestos dust exposure either.
The evidence obtained in support of the pleural thickening claim showed that in those days, most of the corridors were fireproofed using asbestos materials. They used asbestos a lot in the ceiling voids within office spaces, fitting asbestos barriers along the ceiling voids in enclosed spaces. Mr H suffered a lot of airborne asbestos dust exposure when doing this work as there was nowhere for the asbestos dust to escape.
As an estimate, Mr H would say that he stopped using asbestos materials during the summer of 1978 approximately and he does not believe he suffered any exposure to airborne asbestos dust beyond this period to the best of his knowledge.
Expert medical evidence was obtained in the case which supported the claim for pleural thickening compensation.
Mr H decided to settle his asbestos claim on a provisional damages basis which leaves the door open for him to claim further asbestos compensation, should he develop further problems in the future as a result of his exposure, such as a diagnosis of asbestos related mesothelioma.
His successful pleural thickening claim settled for tens of thousands of pounds and was concluded within a matter of 11 months from receiving contact from him.
If you require assistance in pursuing a pleural thickening claim or believe you have any other valid asbestos claim please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.