Widow starts proceedings over asbestos

A widow is looking for answers after her husband developed terminal cancer mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos.

The Tioxide Plant at Billingham.

The Tioxide Plant at Billingham.

Alan Cook, a former laboratory technician from Dudley, was diagnosed with the disease in March 2015, and died on September 26, aged 68.

Before his death, he instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the deadly material.

Since his death, his widow Jennifer has continued to fight for answers, issuing formal legal proceedings at the High Court against Tioxide, the company where Alan believed he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres.

He worked at the company’s Billingham site between 1965 and 1970.

He said that he and his colleagues would use two types of asbestos rope during experiments.

Jennifer is now appealing for Alan’s former colleagues from Tioxide to come forward with crucial information on the presence of asbestos at the site and the safety measures, if any, implemented.

Jennifer said: “Alan’s diagnosis was a terrible shock to us all and it was terrible to see him in so much distress and losing so much weight.”

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“We are still struggling to come to terms with his death and while we know nothing can ever bring him back we feel we need to get some answers for Alan and ensure those responsible for exposing him to this dreadful substance are held to account for failing to protect him and those he worked alongside.

“He told me he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos while working for Tioxide or provided with any sort of protection from the asbestos he handled on a daily basis.”

Alan told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that the ropes would release dust and fibres into the atmosphere and that his work clothes were often covered in asbestos dust by the end of the day.

He also recalled the pipework at the facility being lagged with asbestos and repair work taking place while he was present, which led to further dust and fibres being released into the working atmosphere.

“Alan’s diagnosis had a huge impact on his life and he wanted to know why he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed.

“His family are still determined to understand how he was exposed and we have now issued High Court proceedings in a bid to get them the answers they deserve about Alan’s death.

“We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s as they may have crucial information that will help Alan’s his family understand what happened and begin to provide them with some closure concerning his death.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s should contact Johnny Coulthard on 0191 279 0130.

Source: News Post Leader

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