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Written by Martin Anderson

Boyes Turner were instructed by Brian* after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer.

Exposure to asbestos

Brian confirmed that he was exposed to asbestos dust while working for William Boothman and Sons Limited, which was a saw mill in Nelson, Lancashire. He worked there from 1958 to 1965, initially as a labourer and then as an apprentice joiner. 

One of the things the company used to do was making and assembling garages. Asbestos sheets were used on the roofs and sometimes on the walls. Our client, alongside other apprentices and labourers, used to cut the sheets to size in the workshop, using electric saws (and manual saws for the more intricate work). This would create clouds of asbestos dust, which would build up throughout the day. At the end of the day, they would sweep up the asbestos dust, which would cause it to circulate further. 

The directors of William Boothman and Sons Limited knew the directors at some of the cotton mills that were in Lancashire at that time. Sometimes, Brian and the other apprentices would be sent to one of the cotton mills to strip asbestos from the boiler room and other asbestos lagged pipes in the building. They simply hacked the asbestos lagging off the pipes, which would create dust. Again, this would build up throughout the day.  Brian and his fellow apprentices could not avoid breathing it in. They were given no protection and were not warned of the dangers of asbestos dust.

Application to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment scheme

We investigated William Boothman and Sons Limited and ascertained that they had long since been dissolved. Unfortunately, we were unable to trace any employers’ liability insurance that they may have had while Brian worked there. In cases such as these, where the asbestos exposure took place in the 1950s and 1960s, this is a common problem because employers’ liability insurance was not mandatory until 1972. 

Even where insurance was in place, it is not always possible to trace the relevant insurance company as there was no central database of insurance policies at this time. 

We therefore made an application under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, which was put in place to compensate victims of mesothelioma who were negligently exposed to asbestos by uninsured employers. 

We took a detailed statement from Brian which described his asbestos exposure at William Boothman & Sons and assisted him in completing the application form.

The application was successful and Brian was awarded £149,641 gross compensation by the administrators of the scheme.


While no amount of money can make up for Brian’s diagnosis with such a terrible illness, we were pleased to assist him at such a difficult time.

*Client’s name changed for confidentiality