Settlement for production line supervisor with mesothelioma

Boyes Turner’s specialist asbestos claims team were instructed by Mr H towards the end of 2015 following his diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Mr H had been employed by Expandite Limited during the 1960s in the export department and was based in the UK, Latin America and the Caribbean.

His asbestos exposure came about whilst on secondment to Secomastic Limited, a subsidiary company of Expandite Limited, on the completion of a large order for Philplug, an asbestos based product. He supervised the manufacture of Philplug at factory premises in Western Avenue, Bracknell.

As part of the Philplug manufacturing process, asbestos-based rock was broken down by spikes within a rotating steel drum. The asbestos rocks were poured into the drums. Once reduced to loose fibres the asbestos was mixed with cement powder and then dropped onto a conveyor before being wound into ropes. Mr H supervised the nightshift production line on the factory floor, which enabled 24 hour production.

Mr H, as a production line supervisor, was frequently within 2-3 feet of the production line, talking to the men. He was unable to avoid exposure to the clouds of dust generated by the production line and would often be covered in dust from the production process. Paper masks were provided to the employees but they were impractical to wear as they quickly became clogged and were wholly ineffective in protecting against the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

He later spent a period of about 10 days setting up a Philplug production line using second-hand plant/equipment in a factory premises in Mexico City. This work revolved around the installation of a second-hand Philplug production line that had not been cleaned out since its previous production cycle. It was therefore contaminated with significant quantities of asbestos dust, debris and fibres. In order to fix the various sections of the production line together Mr H had to climb inside the steel drums and cylinders that still contained asbestos. He would be crawling around within the asbestos dust and debris and creating visible clouds of dust within very confined spaces. By the end of his working days he would be covered from head to toe in asbestos-containing dust.

In September 2015 Mr H developed pneumonia. Following a chest x-ray, he was referred for a CT scan which showed shadows on his lung. He underwent a biopsy and was subsequently informed that he had mesothelioma in October 2015.

Mr H instructed Boyes Turner who set about investigating his claim. Supportive medical evidence was obtained and information regarding his financial losses was compiled. Mr H’s wife had visual impairment and he assisted her greatly day-to-day. Boyes Turner obtained evidence to support her difficulties and the assistance he provided, to ensure she was properly compensated for the loss of his care as part of the claim.

Court proceedings were issued to progress matters as the two potential insurers for Expandite Limited (“the defendant”) failed to make any progress. At this time, Mr H was admitted to a local hospice for pain management as he was suffering progressive pain, breathlessness, fatigue and general debility. Sadly, he passed away at the hospice. His wife took over his claim on behalf of his estate.

Judgment on liability was entered and a trial date listed to assess damages if a negotiated settlement could not be reached. After delays by the defendant in serving their medical evidence, we were delighted that we were finally able to negotiate a good settlement for Mrs H without the need for a damages trial.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email IDClaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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