Lawyer warns of hundreds of potential cancer cases for Longbridge workers.
There could be “hundreds” of former Longbridge workers suffering from asbestos-related cancer after working at the Birmingham plant, a lawyer has warned.
Sofia Yousaf, of Yorkshire law firm Pickering and Partners, is representing a man who contracted mesothelioma after working for Austin putting together Minis in the Central Assembly Building during the early 60s.
Ms Yousaf is now representing the man in his search for compensation, and is appealing for witnesses who may have worked there at the time.
She said: “We have got a client who was exposed to asbestos dust and we are looking for witnesses.
“But this issue isn’t one that’s particular to one person. There could be hundreds of other people who are at risk.”
The latest case comes just months after the last asbestos-related cancer case at Longbridge to hit the headlines.
Kelvin Parker, 54, from Halesowen, was diagnosed in August 2007 with mesothelioma, the fatal asbestos-related disease.
Mr Parker, who was divorced with three children sadly passed away on November 19, 2008.
He was employed by Cradley Heath based TIS Modular Structures, a subsidiary of Thomson Insulation Services, which ceased trading in September 1986.
The company had a long-term contract with Rover and Mr Parker spent the majority of his time fitting suspended ceilings at the car manufacturer’s Longbridge site.
Mr Parker had begun legal action prior to his death and his family are continuing his fight for justice.
Industrial illness lawyer and mesothelioma specialist Iain Shoolbred is representing his family. He said witnesses had come forward since Mr Parker’s history was first mentioned in the press, and a case was now being put together.
Mr Shoolbred, who is a solicitor at the Birmingham office of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said there were question marks over the way many large manufacturers had acted over asbestos at their sites.
He said: “It would be fair to say that they were either aware or they should have been aware of the dangers.”
He added that there was a misconception that the dangers of asbestos were not known about before the substance was banned completely. Factory inspectors had started reporting on the risks at the start of the 20th century – though at the time it was only asbestosis that was linked to asbestos rather than mesothelioma. The first asbestos regulations were introduced in the 1930s.
Compensation claims for asbestos-related illnesses can be difficult to pursue because the illness is often not diagnosed until 40 years or more after exposure. Conversely, once a diagnosis is made the average person only lives for 12 months, so it is difficult to complete a claim while the person is alive.