A Bathroom appliance manufacturer has paid compensation to a former worker who developed fatal asbestos disease.

Unite the Union supported the claim for their member Eli Richards, 79, from Great Wyrley, Walsall when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2011 after 17 years working with asbestos sheeting at a factory in Wolverhampton.

During his time as a toolmaker he was never warned about the dangers of asbestos or provided with the correct personal protective equipment.

With help from Unite’s legal service and its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors he has now received a six figure sum in compensation from the bathroom firm.

Mr Richards had worked for the firms’ brass taps factory since 1979. It was discovered he had been exposed to asbestos when a colleague brought to his attention a red warning sticker on packages of boards they were cutting up.

Working with asbestos for years

Now years later Mr Richards is paying with his health for his former employer’s negligence. He has been told his condition is fatal.

He said: “I couldn’t believe we had been working with asbestos for years but had never been told about it or provided with protection.

After his diagnosis Mr Richards contacted Unite the Union and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation. The manufacturer did not dispute the case.

Mick Stevens from Unite the Union said: “The legacy of employers’ disregard for health and safety will have long reaching affects for our members who develop asbestos related disease as a result negligence. Unite’s legal service will be there to support members by providing free, high quality specialist advice in their hour of need ”

Dave Fisher from Thompsons Solicitors said: “There is no excuse for any employer failing to take adequate steps to protect workers from the dangers of asbestos which have been well known for over a century.