The widow of an electrician has received £290,000 compensation after her husband died from asbestos related cancer mesothelioma.

The Unite the union member from Plymouth died in March 2007 after a two year fight against the disease.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for the disease which can develop decades after the exposure to asbestos.

Exposed to asbestos dust at work

The member was exposed to the dangerous dust regularly during his work as an electrician for Western Power Distribution, now owned by EDF. He worked with the company from 1965 until 2007.

He was not warned about the dangers of asbestos until 1983 and even then wasn't provided with protective equipment.

His wife, who does not wish to be named, said her husband was shocked when he was diagnosed.

She said: "My husband had no idea that his job could lead to him being so ill. He was never warned about the dangers until the damage had already been done."

When he was diagnosed with mesothelioma he contacted Unite which instructed its lawyers to pursue a claim for compensation. Thompsons Solicitors pursued the claim to a successful out of court settlement for compensation of £290,000.

Mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbetsos

Laurence Faircloth, Unite regional secretary said: "Mesothelioma is a devastating disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Many of our members were exposed to this dangerous dust and now, decades later, they are paying with their lives. We will continue to fight for compensation for our members and justice for their families."

Dave Fisher from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This member was a very fit man, still in work and looking forward to enjoying his retirement. He and his wife were devastated when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and knew this would rob them of their time together.

“His suffering and death, and the incalculable loss to his wife and family, were entirely preventable had his employers not failed in their duty of care. The union’s legal service ensured that the negligence of the employer was brought to account and that the family are financially secure.”