A PENSIONER who was diagnosed with terminal cancer after being exposed to asbestos has been awarded a six-figure payout.
Peter, who lives in the Fens area of Hartlepool, worked as a mechanical fitter for English Electric Company, where he worked from 1967-68, and then for Richardsons Westgarth and its subsidiary RW Engineering from 1968-71.
But despite winning an undisclosed compensation payout, the 69-year-old says his family are still struggling to come to terms with the news that his cancer is terminal.
Peter said: “When I found out I had a terminal cancer it was devastating for myself and my wife, Joan.
“The disease has had a significant impact on my lifestyle, as I underwent several sessions of chemotherapy and my health has deteriorated rapidly since my diagnosis.
“My family and I are still struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis and what the future holds for us as my retirement, which I was looking forward to spending with my wife, will now be cruelly taken away from us, purely because I went to work every day and did my job.”
During his employment with the companies, Peter was exposed to asbestos while working at nuclear power stations and gas plants, where he came into close contact with asbestos which was used to lag pipework.
He regularly worked near areas where lagging was going on in power stations, with laggers using pre-formed sections of asbestos lagging which released asbestos dust into the atmosphere when cut.
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office secured the settlement from his former employers after arguing that Peter was not warned of the dangers of asbestos or offered any form of breathing mask or respiratory equipment during his employment with the two firms.
Isobel Lovett, an expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Peter worked as a mechanical fitter and a turbine erector for a number of years with these two companies and spent a lot of time in environments where asbestos dust and fibres were present in the air.
“Unfortunately, his employers failed to inform him of the risks of inhaling asbestos and never provided him with masks or respiratory equipment to protect him from the risks of the deadly substance.
“It is completely unacceptable that employers failed to protect workers despite the dangers of asbestos being known from the 1930s.
“We are delighted to have secured a settlement for Peter and his wife Joan.
“While nothing can turn back the clock and prevent the exposure in the first place, at least it will help provide some comfort at this difficult time.”
Peter was given the devastating news of his condition by medics at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, after initially visiting his GP complaining of feeling unwell, tired and breathless.
He added: “I’m relieved that my legal team at Irwin Mitchell secured a settlement from my former employers as it will help to pay for any assistance and care I need in the future, as well as providing financial stability for my wife.”