I acted for Gerry who was diagnosed with Asbestosis. Gerry was suffering with shortness of breath which a consultant respiratory expert believed was causing him a 20% disability. Gerry was also at risk of contracting Mesothelioma (asbestos related cancer), pleural thickening and asbestos related lung cancer. There was also a risk that Gerry's Asbestosis could deteriorate further.
Thomas Headley Limited
As a fitter and turner for Thomas Headley Limited (which later became Proctor & Gamble Limited), Gerry worked alongside laggers.
Gerry worked at the factory in West Thurrock where they made a variety of different cleaning products including soap powders and washing up liquid. Gerry was there between February 1958 and 1990. In 1962/63, he became directly employed by Proctor & Gamble Limited. He was initially working as a factory worker in the mixing department before being promoted to tradesman's assistant. His work involved him working alongside other tradesmen who were employed by the Company at the factory. These included laggers, fitters, tinsmiths, riggers and scaffolders. He was mainly working in the processing plant as a tradesman's assistant where he says there was a mass of pipework which was lagged with asbestos lagging. Further, the boiler houses were lagged.
When Gerry worked alongside the lagger, he mixed up dry powdered asbestos with water in containers until it formed a paste. When the asbestos was tipped from sacks into the containers, clouds of dust formed in the air. He also used a hacksaw to remove asbestos lengths from valves and pipework. He further swept up any asbestos debris.
He also used asbestos rope which came in coils and which he cut with a knife. He wrapped the asbestos rope around the pipework to fill the gap in lagging to ensure that the hot pipe was not exposed and no-one touched it.
Gerry retired from Proctor & Gamble in 1990 but recalls that his asbestos exposure ended at some point prior to his retirement as asbestos was not widely used then.
Gerry can now only walk 50/60 yards before becoming breathless. He has never smoked and is unable to undertake daily activities such as gardening and window cleaning because of his breathlessness.
Proctor & Gamble's admission
Once we notified the claim to Proctor & Gamble, their representatives swiftly admitted liability. Medical evidence and documents supporting the financial losses Gerry had suffered was gained. Negotiations ensued and Gerry accepted Proctor & Gamble's final offer of £35,000.