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Former Liverpool Factory Worker Awarded Compensation After Asbestos Exposure Resulted In Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Sandra came into contact with asbestos dust when she was employed as a packer at two Liverpool-based companies; Namepack Limited (formerly known as Ward Blenkinsop) located in Halewood, where she worked from 1969 to 1971 and Dista Products Limited, located in Speke, where she worked from 1971 – 1975. Ward Blenkinsop was a pharmaceutical company and Sandra’s job was to work on the lines, packing raw materials and medicines ready for distribution.

The factory Sandra worked in was old and contained lagged pipes running the length of the factory ceiling. The lagging was damaged and in a state of disrepair and emergency repairs to the pipes were carried out on a regular basis. The roof of the factory was also made of corrugated asbestos sheeting which also underwent regular repair works. Such works carried out from above meant that Sandra was exposed to harmful asbestos dust and fibres falling onto her workplace below.

Dista Products Limited was a company that manufactured chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry. Sandra’s job was to handle powdered drugs and liquids. The factory had been built to produce Penicillin during WWII and as such, the factory was old, containing much asbestos lagging, visible throughout the premises and the walkways between departments and corridors. Again, the pipework was old and damaged and needed regular maintenance and repair, meaning that Sandra was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres every day when she walked throughout the factory corridors.

Sandra began experiencing breathing difficulties around 10 years ago and as her symptoms worsened, investigations showed lung cancer had developed. She endured courses of chemotherapy and radical surgery to remove a tumour. Pathology results eventually revealed that Sandra was suffering from asbestos-related cancer, which was the cause of a great deal of pain. To help relieve the pain and provide support with symptom control, Sandra was admitted to Willowbrook Hospice.

Her husband Frank was in shock following Sandra’s diagnosis of an asbestos-related mesothelioma. “Sandra had never worked directly with asbestos, and it was only when she was going through her work history with our solicitor Joanne that she recalled the men repairing the pipes whilst she was working on the packing line. Questions posed by Joanne brought a realisation for us that Sandra had suffered exposure and that no warnings or protections had been provided by her employers.”

Sandra instructed asbestos specialist Joanne Candlish to help establish where and when she had been exposed to asbestos and to pursue a claim for damages.

Commenting on the case, Joanne Candlish, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “These two factories exposed maintenance and factory line workers to harmful asbestos dust and Sandra did not feel the effects of that exposure until much later in her life. Sadly, I have pursued many asbestos exposure cases against these two factories and contacted many helpful witnesses. This helped me to gain the evidence needed to get answers for Sandra and the much-needed care and compensation.”

Joanne achieved a six figure settlement for Sandra and her family which also included an indemnity from the Defendants to pay any future private treatment costs not available on the NHS and over £9,000.00 for the hospice. Unfortunately, two weeks after the settlement Sandra passed away.

The Merseyside Asbestos Victim Support Group also provided personal advice and support to Sandra and her family. They offered guidance on benefits entitlement and helped secure the necessary benefits for Sandra.

Willowbrook Hospice received a significant sum from the settlement, in addition to the sums recovered for Sandra, recognition of their vital role in Sandra’s care.

Joanne Candlish is a highly experienced asbestos claims solicitor who has spent years building her knowledge and contacts. From the asbestos claims she has worked on, over the years, she has extensive knowledge of asbestos exposure in different factories and workplaces across the country, and in particular in the North West.

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