A retired pipe fitter diagnosed with asbestos cancer has received over £127,000 in compensation from two previous employers because they failed to protect him from asbestos exposure.
Gordon Owen, 75, from Liverpool began working as an apprentice pipe fitter for Cammell Laird Shipbuilders in Birkenhead in 1953.
Frequently exposed to asbestos dust
He was frequently exposed to asbestos dust working in confined areas in boiler and engine rooms where other workers mixed and applied asbestos lagging. Gordon swept up the dust and dirt which contained asbestos.
He was later employed by Capper Pipe Service Company Limited as a pipe fitter and welder working at sites in Ellesmere Port, Runcorn and across the North West. He would often strip out and remove old asbestos lagging by hand to access pipes. Asbestos debris would be left on the floor.
Employers failed in their duty to protect him from the dangers of asbestos exposure
Both of Gordon’s employers failed in their duty to protect him from the dangers of asbestos exposure which were well known at the time.
In October 2012, Gordon was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs.
Gordon and his family contacted industrial disease specialists Thompsons Solicitors.
Investigations uncovered thirty years of asbestos exposure spanning the 1950’s to the 1980’s
Thompsons Solicitors met with Mr Owen and his three children. Investigations uncovered thirty years of asbestos exposure spanning the 1950’s to the 1980’s. Thompsons issued Court proceedings and secured over £127,000 compensation against both previous employers within five months of the launch of the case.
Gordon said: “When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma I was in shock. The support I received from Thompsons Solicitors has been fantastic and their determination to win my case has been a great source of comfort to me, especially now I know that my family will be provided for in future.
“It’s been hard coming to terms with my diagnosis. I’m always out of breath, I’m not active and I rely on my children’s support for most of my day-to-day tasks. All those years ago health and safety measures were not in place to protect workers like me from asbestos. It’s gutting that I was not warned of the serious health risk of what I was working with.”
Diana Fos from Thompsons Solicitors who represented Mr Owen, said: “The sad reality of cases such as Gordon’s is that workers were often exposed to asbestos by employers who were well aware of the risks and it is only now, decades later, that the damage to their health is being diagnosed. Gordon’s account of his working history recalls men mixing asbestos by hand and it being swept up in clouds of dust.
“I’m pleased we have been able to work with Mr Owen and his family to get the justice they deserve because he should never have been exposed to asbestos in that way with absolutely no protection in the first place.”
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.