Sunderland Echo readers help electrician win asbestos legal fight

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A RETIRED electrician diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer has won his legal fight for compensation – thanks to the help of Echo readers.

John Teasdale, pictured, from Sunderland, was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year after suffering from back pain and breathlessness.

Doctors told the 67-year-old it was most likely caused by exposure to asbestos during his career as an electrician.

He instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate where and when he was exposed to the deadly dust in a bid to win justice for himself and his family.

Now, after a public appeal in the Echo for ex-workmates to get in touch, lawyers have secured a settlement from his former employers George V Cummins Ltd and Energy and Marine (Wearside) Ltd.

Father-of-two John, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, said: “I am delighted that my former colleagues came forward to help me in my legal battle.

“I was absolutely devastated when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which was caused purely by going to work and doing my job.

“The diagnosis left me and my family completely shell-shocked and we are all still struggling to come to terms with it and what the future holds for us.

“My experience has also made me extremely angry as I was never given any information on the risks I was being exposed to at work.”

John worked for George V Cummins Ltd between 1962 and 1970 and Energy and Marine (Wearside) Ltd, which was formerly known as Sunderland Forge, between 1970 and 1972 and from 1974 to 1991.

“I am delighted my legal team has now secured this settlement from my former employers and that they have been held to account for their actions,” he said.

During his employment with George V Cummins, John was exposed to asbestos when fitting lighting in buildings alongside other tradesmen, who disturbed asbestos lagging while working on boilers and pipe work. With Energy and Marine (Wearside) Ltd, he worked at hospitals across the North East, where he was required to drill into walls, lift floor boards and spend time in loft voids, where he once again came into contact with asbestos lagging.

Irwin Mitchell say John was not offered any form of breathing mask or respiratory equipment while with the two companies, despite spending time in dusty environments, where he inhaled asbestos dust and fibres.

Roger Maddocks, partner and an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “John was an electrician for many years and spent a lot of that time working in very dusty environment and in close proximity to asbestos lagging.

“Unfortunately, he was not warned of the dangers of asbestos and was not provided with any equipment to prevent his inhaling the hazardous substance. The dangers of exposure to asbestos have been well known for decades and it is completely unacceptable that workers were simply not protected or warned of the dangers of the dust.

“I would also like to thank those who came forward with information about the working conditions John was exposed to in his employment at George V Cummins and Energy and Marine Ltd, as this information proved crucial in securing justice for John, his wife, Tracey and their family.”