Pensioner agrees cash deal over lung disease

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A PENSIONER suffering from a deadly disease caused by exposure to asbestos has accepted a six-figure compensation settlement from his former bosses.

Derek Adair, 72, of North Shields, was exposed to the deadly dust while working for three different firms throughout his career.

Now, after seeking help from industrial illness specialist Roger Maddocks, Mr Adair has agreed a compensation deal.

Mr Adair worked in Newcastle for McTaggart, Scott and Co from 1953 to 1958 as a shipyard apprentice, then for George Angus and Co and Dunlop as a machinist, initially in Newcastle and then in North Shields.

He was promoted to foreman while in North Shields, a position he held until his retirement in 1999.

Mr Adair was exposed to asbestos while machining materials containing the substance to make components.

Mr Maddocks, of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Throughout his career, Mr Adair was forced to work with asbestos.

“At no point did any of his employers offer him safety equipment, such as breathing masks, ventilators or extractors.

“As a result, he has, over the years, inhaled vast quantities of asbestos.

“Although it only takes a single fibre to cause mesothelioma, the odds are naturally increased by prolonged exposure.

“This was a collective and colossal breach of the duties of care that these employers had towards their workforce and, specifically, Mr Adair.

“The list of breaches continues for several pages, and this was, unfortunately, common practice around Tyneside at the time.

“Mr Adair was a very fit and healthy man who should have been able to continue enjoying his retirement. Instead, his life expectancy has been greatly decreased for no reason other than that he spent his life working hard.

“The settlement will not compensate him for what he has lost, but it will allow him to live out the rest of his retirement in as much comfort as possible, considering the painful nature of his illness.”

Mr Adair first developed symptoms in July 2009, growing short of breath whilst playing one of his regular rounds of golf.

He was diagnosed with the asbestos-related lung disease mesothelioma a month later and needed three litres of fluid draining from his lungs.

Mr Adair said: “I worked on a number of ships up and down the Tyne at the start of my career and, in most instances, I would have been exposed to asbestos.

“The dust would billow out in clouds around us, particularly when the lagging was being mixed or when it needed to be removed and was being torn down.

“Some days it was so dusty we would come out looking like snowmen at the end of the day.

“The culture was not such that you would complain about your lot or question why things were done in a certain way.

“You got on with your job, and if you were told to do something, or go somewhere, you did it.”