Cape PLC (and its subsidiaries) are responsible for hundreds of asbestos-related deaths throughout the last century. We continue to fight for the people blighted by this company and have recently won another asbestosis claim against them. Continue reading to learn how we won this complex asbestos claim.
Who are Cape PLC?
The Cape Asbestos Company was founded in 1893 as the Cape Asbestos Company. They originally mined asbestos in the Orange Free State, South Africa and imported it into European countries. When it arrived in these countries, it was woven into fire-resistant materials in factories. By 1913, the company had four factories in London and in 1939 they opened another factory at Acre Mill, Hebden Bridge. They manufactured asbestos products until 1982.
We have previously written comprehensive articles about the company’s devastation in Barking.
The asbestosis case:
In 2016, Mr L was diagnosed with asbestosis following investigations at hospital. He was previously told that his pleural plaques showed that he had been exposed to asbestos but asbestos compensation could not be claimed for that condition. He later developed asbestosis for which compensation could be claimed.
Mr L was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a labourer and machine operator for two Cape PLC company subsidiaries.
Firstly, he worked with Plumefern Limited in Iver Lane, Cowley between 1971 and 1973. He then worked at the same site between 1974 and 1977 for Cape Building Products Limited. We alleged that the companies owed Mr L a duty to take reasonable care for his safety in the course of his employment.
In his first year in employment for the Cape PLC subsidiaries Mr L spent most of his time working within the saws and sanders department. This put him in close proximity to cutting machines. These machines used circular saws to cut asbestolux boards. This process generated lots of asbestos fibres and dust, which rose up into the atmosphere of the factory. More dust was released into the air when Mr L and his colleagues threw the off cuts from the machinery into skips. During this time, Mr L also spent 2 months working in the ‘Redlar department,’ where he poured bags of raw asbestos fibres into a hopper. This was an extremely dusty activity. Furthermore, he spent time in the special cutting department where asbestolux boards were cut, drilled and bevelled.
After this initial period, Mr L became a machine operator on a machine that manufactured asbestolux boards. This process emitted asbestos fibres and dust into the factory atmosphere. For two weeks, each year there was a general shutdown period. During this time, Mr L used a kango hammer to chip away at the asbestos mix which had covered the inside of the machinery. Of course, this caused more asbestos dust and fibres to be released around Mr L.
Finally, Mr L confirmed that throughout his employment, asbestos dust and debris littered the workplace. This debris was disturbed by various activities that caused further exposure to the hazardous material. Air lines were also used to disperse the dust which caused it to rise into the working environment.
Some form of rudimentary respiratory equipment was provided to employees but Mr L described this as being uncomfortable and impractical to wear. He says that, as a result, it was rarely used. He also stated that its use was not enforced – which meant that the company had been negligent and breached their statutory duty which helped prove the asbestosis claim.
The Medical Report:
We obtained a medical report from an expert respiratory physician. This confirmed that, on the balance of probabilities, Mr L was suffering from asbestosis. According to the expert, Mr L’s condition has left him with a 30% respiratory disability. The evidence also confirmed that Mr L sadly faces the risk that his asbestosis could progress slowly in the future. Sadly, this could leave him with an additional 10-20% respiratory disability during his lifetime. This would leave him with significant difficulties in carrying out activities of daily living. There is also a further 10% risk that his condition could develop significantly, leaving him with life-limiting symptoms.
There is also a 2% risk that Mr L could develop asbestos-related pleural thickening, and a 3% risk that he could develop the asbestos-cancer mesothelioma. Unfortunately, Mr L is also more likely to develop lung cancer due to his asbestos exposure.
We won the asbestosis claim for Mr L on a provisional damages settlement. This means that Mr L has peace of mind knowing that he will be able to return to claim further asbestos compensation if he suffers the misfortune of further complications due to his asbestos exposure.
We were happy to bring this case to conclusion in just 7 months.
How can we help?
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestosis claim against your former employer or their insurers, please contact us today. You can do so by calling our Freephone number 0800 038 6767 or filling in our contact form.