Jeffrey Atkinson died from mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos disease
The family of Jeffrey Atkinson, a former agricultural vehicle mechanic who tragically lost his life to an asbestos-related disease at the age of 58, is speaking out about the consequences of negligent asbestos exposure in the workplace.
Jeffrey Atkinson, from Bridlington, died from the asbestos-related disease Mesothelioma in March 2021 after being exposed to asbestos regularly during his employment after leaving school in the late 70s and early 80s at Richardsons Ltd, a supplier of agricultural machinery.
Mr Atkinson encountered asbestos while working in the company's workshop and performing service and repairs on agricultural machinery, including tractors. His duties included handling asbestos brakes and clutch linings, which posed significant risks to his health.
Jeffrey was just 58 when he died of mesothelioma
Despite these dangers, Mr Atkinson was never provided with a mask or gloves, nor was he made aware of the dangers of asbestos by his employer. The asbestos vehicle parts he encountered would release asbestos dust into the atmosphere, contaminating his clothes and exposing him further, particularly as the parts did not fit perfectly and needed to be grinded.
In August 2020, Mr Atkinson began experiencing symptoms of asbestos-related disease, initially presenting as fatigue and abdominal pain. His condition rapidly worsened, leading to stomach swelling. He sought medical attention at Scarborough Hospital Emergency Department, receiving a devastating peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis in December 2020.
Mr Atkinson was represented by specialist asbestos lawyers at Thompsons Solicitors, to secure compensation for the negligent exposure to asbestos by Richardsons Ltd.
Jeffrey and his wife, Deborah, on their wedding day
Deborah Atkinson, Mr Atkinson's wife, highlighted her husband's selflessness in prioritising the family's well-being despite receiving earth-shattering news. She said: “After the shock of the mesothelioma diagnosis, it was necessary to Jeff that we would be left financially secure. It epitomised the strong and caring man he was to prioritise us over his own needs after receiving such earth-shattering news.
“Mesothelioma is such an unforgiving disease. After being diagnosed with it in December 2020, his symptoms escalated rapidly. Jeff underwent gruelling chemotherapy sessions and even managed to survive sepsis. We’re so proud of how he battled through until the end.
Mesothelioma, a cancer that primarily affects the lining of organs, typically the lungs, is strongly linked to asbestos exposure. Symptoms can take decades to manifest following exposure. According to Cancer Research UK, between 2017 and 2019, mesothelioma claimed the lives of 2,394 individuals in the UK.
Marion Voss, representing Mr Atkinson's family at Thompsons Solicitors, commented on the Atkinson family's harrowing experience, stressing the acute dangers of asbestos exposure.
She said: “This has been a horrendous experience for the Atkinson family. The tragic passing of Mr Atkinson, at just 58 years old, shows the acute dangers of asbestos exposure.
“He was severely let down by his employer, who offered no warnings about asbestos and provided inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for him to carry out his job safely.
“There was a breach of workplace safety standards and regulations, poor risk assessment and inadequate warnings and training given to Mr Atkinson.”