Lawyers acting for an Essex man who worked for Ford Motor Company in Dagenham for over three decades and now dying from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma have secured over £100,000 compensation.

Ronald Whiston, from Rainham in Essex, worked at the Ford plant in Dagenham from 1961 to 1990, when he took early retirement. As well as working alongside laggers who mixed up asbestos lagging, Mr Whiston was involved in the fitting of brake pads that actually contained asbestos - a role he carried out for three or four months in total. He was never given any warnings about the dangers of asbestos and was never provided with a mask or other equipment to stop him inhaling the asbestos dust that was being created.

Mr Whiston, aged 72, explains: “I can remember the River Plant buildings in Chequers Lane which were made of asbestos. There were always fork lift trucks whizzing around the plant. On a regular basis a fork lift truck would knock into the walls of the buildings I was based in. Sometimes this just caused a dent in the wall, but more often than not, a hole would appear in the wall and you could see the asbestos fibres hanging out. The damaged part of the asbestos sheeting wall would just fall to the floor, creating dust. You could literally see through the hole, out to the other side.”

Diagnosed with mesothelioma

Having suffered breathing problems for a number of years, doctors at the London Chest Hospital informed Ronald Whiston in March 2006 that he is suffering from mesothelioma, the asbestos related cancer.

He continues: “My wife Jacqueline and I are devastated that doing my job all those years ago has now made me suffer this condition. Although Ford has never denied any responsibility, I am angry that they never warned me or any of my colleagues about the dangers of working with asbestos.”

Lorna Webster, from Thompsons Solicitors in London, comments: “Mesothelioma is a terrible illness caused by employers’ disregard for their workers’ lives. It’s a tragedy for families like the Whistons and shocking to note that asbestos-related diseases will cause 10,000 deaths a year by 2010 and will be the biggest industrial killer of all time.”