Son of Droitwich asbestos victim appeals for former colleagues to help investigation

Ronald Smith with his wife Barbara.

Ronald Smith with his wife Barbara.

First published in News

THE son of a former engineer who died of an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his former work colleagues to help lawyers investigate how he was exposed to the deadly dust.

Ronald Smith, 73, from Droitwich, died just a month after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2011 after being seen by his consultant physician in an outpatients’ clinic at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

His son Steve, who also lost his mum Barbara recently, has now instructed asbestos-related disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate where and when his father was exposed to asbestos so he can gain justice on his behalf.

Industrial illness experts, together with his son, are now appealing for his former work colleagues to help piece together his working conditions and find out how he was exposed to the deadly asbestos dust.

The father-of-two began work at Eccles Caravans, in Stirchley, Birmingham, in 1952 to 1956 where he was responsible for cutting up asbestos sheets which were used to fit around fire places for their heat and fire resistant properties.

He also worked at Austin Motor Company, now Evenfeld Limited, in Longbridge, between 1958 and 1960, as a maintenance engineer where his work involved him stripping asbestos lagging from pipework in order to affect repairs and maintenance.

Kim Barrett, an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, leading the case, said: “Ronald’s family are devastated to have lost him in such tragic circumstances and understandably they want answers as to how this happened.

“We’re keen to speak to anybody who worked with Ronald during his career as a carpenter and engineer as we believe they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and the working conditions he faced.

“We work with people on a daily basis who have been exposed to asbestos and who have developed the most severe illnesses, to help secure them the justice they deserve from their past employers who took a chance with asbestos and ignored the risks.”

Steve Smith, 51, now living in Canada, said: “My dad’s cancer diagnosis was heart-breaking for him and a shock for the family as a whole and it was devastating to see his health decline so rapidly and that he died less than a month after he was diagnosed.

“Although the exposure my dad suffered to asbestos was decades ago, it is very worrying to me that in many countries asbestos is still being used in construction industries without health warnings and protective equipment being provided to employees.

“I urge anyone who worked with or knew my dad to come forward with any information so we can move his case forward and receive justice. We want to know how and where he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and why more wasn’t done to protect him whilst at work.”

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to contact Kim Barrett at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0121 214 5211 or email kim.barrett@irwinmitchell.com

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