A sugar factory worker has received £12,000 in provisional settlement of a compensation claim for asbestos related disease.

The GMB union member from London, who moved to Cornwall in later years, was diagnosed with asbestos related pleural thickening in 2007 after suffering from lung problems for several years.

He was exposed to asbestos while working for Tate & Lyle at the Plaistow site and Thames Refinery between 1956 and 1999.

For 18 months in 1959 he worked as a pipe coverer’s mate at Plaistow where Golden Syrup was made. His job involved working with others who handled and cut up asbestos.

From 1969 to 1979 he worked at the Thames Refinery where the kilns were insulated with asbestos insulation.

Not warned of dangers of asbestos

He was not warned of the dangers to his future health nor given any protection from the dust.

On being diagnosed with pleural thickening due to asbestos exposure he contacted his union which instructed asbestos claims specialists Thompsons Solicitors to advise about compensation.

Thompsons was successful in securing a settlement from Tate & Lyle which entitles him to £12,000 immediately and allows him to reopen the claim for further compensation at any time in the future if his condition deteriorates due to asbestos related disease including the fatal cancer mesothelioma.

He said: “I am quite angry that I did not find out that my breathing difficulties were caused by asbestos earlier. The reason we moved to Cornwall was because I thought the air would do me good.

Pleural thickening can be a severe and debilitating disease

Rose Conroy from the GMB said: “Pleural thickening can be a severe and debilitating disease. Many of our members were exposed to asbestos unwittingly in the workplace. We will continue to fight for compensation for our members who have been harmed by negligent exposure to asbestos.”

Lorna Webster of Thompsons Solicitors added: “The settlement enables our client to have the benefit of some compensation now while preserving his right to re-open the claim in the future if he should sufferer serious deterioration due to progression of his pleural thickening or develops other asbestos related conditions including mesothelioma and asbestos induced lung cancer.”