Percy McDonald was a lorry driver who in the normal course of his employment, was required to attend Battersea Power Station, between 1954 and 1958 to pick up waste products.
Lagging work was carried out at the Power Station which involved the mixing of asbestos powder with water to form an insulating paste. Mr McDonald was required to go into areas of the plant where asbestos dust was generated and thus he was exposed to the substance.
He alleged that he had been exposed to asbestos dust when at the Power Station and as a result he had developed an asbestos related cancer.
Sadly, Mr McDonald died in February 2014 from mesothelioma.
In a landmark decision on the 22nd October the Supreme Court has ruled that under the Factories Act 1937 the occupier of the premises is responsible for all people on site, not just direct employees. The judgment also stated that asbestos-industry regulations applied to all factories using asbestos – not just those involved in the asbestos industry.
Asbestos is a natural mineral found in many countries. It acts as an insulator (to keep heat in and cold out) and it protects against fire and corrosion.
There are three main types of asbestos and these were used in UK industries until the ban on imports of blue and brown asbestos in the 1980s and on all types in 1999.
Mesothelioma doesn’t usually develop until many years after exposure to asbestos. It can take any time from 10-60 years, although the average is about 30-40 years after exposure. Around 2,500 people currently die each year from mesothelioma, with the figure expected to reach its peak in 2020.
Many people would have been exposed to asbestos dusts while visiting premises as part of their day-to-day job. This decision makes it perfectly clear that the occupiers of factories where asbestos may have been used, also had a responsibility to protect all those visiting their site and not just direct employees.
If you have suffered Mesothelioma, call on 01279 638888 for advice and assistance.