Action call to help workers with asbestos-linked cancer

Archibald McPhail, Doncaster mesothelioma victim

Archibald McPhail, Doncaster mesothelioma victim

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Campaigners are demanding more help for workers suffering from asbestos-related cancer after is was revealed 85 people in Doncaster died from the condition over four years.

Latest figures reveal 85 people in the borough died from the asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma between 2010 and 2014.

Doncaster has the 43rd highest mortality rate in England and Wales for the disease at 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

The average rate for England and Wales is 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

Jonathan Wheeler, president of not-for-profit group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, which campaigns for the rights of exposed workers and their families, said: “Mesothelioma is a legacy of Britain’s industrial heritage.

“Thankfully, employers nowadays are more aware of the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos. But those who were exposed 30 or 40 years ago are now facing death sentences for simply turning up to work.

“Our members are lawyers and many of them see former dockworkers, factory workers, tradesmen and even teachers, who have never worked in heavy industry but have been exposed in schools, seeking compensation to make them comfortable in their final months, and to ensure their families will be fine financially.

“But because records have been lost or destroyed over time, it is not always possible to track down the former employers’ insurers.”

Mr Wheeler said a Government fund set up as a last resort for people to turn to does not go far enough.

He added: “It needs to be extended to include other asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, so that other suffering workers can get the justice they need and deserve.”

Archibald McPhail, from Rossington, was among those who died of the condition aged 75.

At an inquest into the death of the former fuel industry machine operator, a coroner confirmed Mr McPhail was exposed to asbestos during his career.

Lawyers at firm Irwin Mitchell worked with Mr McPhail’s son Malcolm McPhail and daughter Sue Nealon to investigate why he was exposed to asbestos.

Mr McPhail worked for Coalite and Chemical Products Limited in Rossington from 1971 to 1980.

He operated a machine which discharged fuel into the large coke ovens. He then moved on to be part of a team that undertook repairs and maintenance at the site.

Before his death, Mr McPhail said the repair work he undertook often involved removing and replacing lengths of asbestos rope used to seal coke ovens.

n For details on the Government compensation scheme and how to apply visit www.mesoscheme.org.uk or ring 0131 331 9090.