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Significant asbestos exposure over four month period more than 50 years ago leads to diagnosis of asbestosis

Working in the shipbuilding industry in the North East as a joiner, our client instructed us following a diagnosis of pleural thickening and asbestosis several decades later.


His exposure to significant amounts of asbestos was identified as having taken place during a four month stint in 1954 when he worked in excess of 10 hour days working with asbestos delivered in bales.

Tearing and cutting the asbestos bales to the correct size for insulation purposes, his job, alongside several colleagues was to work on the refurbishment of the hulls and holds of the ships which transported refrigerated goods.

Aged just 23 at the time, he would be working in visible clouds of asbestos dust with no idea that this would cause significant health problems when he reached his 70’s.

His employer should have been aware of the health risks its employees were being placed in given that the dangers of significant asbestos exposure have been reported on in several publications since as early as 1899.

We proved that his previous employer had failed on a number of counts including:

• Failing to make him aware of the health risk he was being exposed to on a daily basis while in their employment
• Not providing adequate breathing apparatus
• Not providing protective clothing
• Failing to put in place any system or adequate equipment to minimise the risk of the asbestos dust and fibres

Experiencing symptoms of breathlessness on exertion, to the extent that even a walk on flat ground would render him breathless, our client was also suffering from anxiety as his diagnosis also stated that he was at risk of his condition developing to mesothelioma or lung cancer in the future.

We won the claim and secured a five figure compensation settlement for him.

The North East’s shipbuilding history has recently been identified as having the highest number of asbestos related deaths, read more here.

For those who are yet to experience any symptoms, but may be concerned that they may have been put at risk of asbestos exposure, seeking medical advice as soon as any tell-tale symptoms appear is essential.

Individuals who do sadly fall ill due to asbestos exposure, are entitled to compensation from the employer responsible for exposing them to this health risk – even in circumstances where the relevant employer has ceased to trade or has changed hands.

Linder Myers’ occupational disease specialists have significant experience in these types of claims and are highly ranked in independent legal directory Chambers & Partners offering an empathetic, personal service.

Successfully securing compensation for individuals affected by asbestos exposure, the team are here to help. To see examples of some of our recently concluded cases, click here.

If your health has been significantly impacted by asbestos exposure, you can speak to a member of our team on 0161 835 8832. Alternatively, please email a summary of your potential claim and contact details to

Find out more about our Occupational Disease department

Written by Jon Andrews. Find out more about Jon here. 

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