A Dorset family is to receive £81,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Defence following a former dockyard worker’s death from cancer – caused by his coming into contact with asbestos on board Royal Navy ships.
William Lucas, of Sturminster Newton, Dorset, died in 2013. He had retired from the Admiralty Research Establishment in 1990.
“The Ministry of Defence were well aware of the dangers of asbestos,” said Brigitte Chandler of Swindon law firm Charles Lucas & Marshall and one of the UK’s leading experts in asbestos-related claims.
“However, they took no precautions to protect their employees on the ships who are now becoming ill with mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Consequently, the Ministry of Defence must pay damages for these mistakes. ”
William Lucas worked as a joiner at the Portsmouth Dockyards on Royal Navy ships and submarine fits between 1949–1960. He also worked as a draughtsman before transferring to the Admiralty Research Establishment.
His various technical roles meant he worked deep inside ships and also on ships which were being refitted. Mr Lucas was also required to cut asbestos sheets. When asbestos was removed it was dumped by hand on the quayside and left to blow around.
As ships were ripped apart for refits, asbestos dust would float freely around as joiners carried on working, installing furniture, panels and bunks.
“The claim was settled by the MoD as it is well aware of the dangers of asbestos,” said Brigitte Chandler. “The dangers have been known since 1900 and since then there have been almost annual reports, warning of the dangers of asbestos but they were not acted upon.
“Unfortunately, asbestos disease can take up to 60 years to develop. The number of asbestos deaths among dockyard workers is rising and is expected to peak over the next few years. Anybody who has had exposure to asbestos and developed respiratory problems should seek urgent medical advice.”
The Swindon and South West Asbestos Group is a regional charity which provides support groups and a free advice service to people suffering from asbestos disease and their families.
For further details contact Swindon and South West Asbestos Group, PO Box 2729, Swindon, SN1 4ZW, telephone 01793 813616, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.asbestosgroup.co.uk.
For further information contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793 511055 or email@example.com
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