A former maintenance electrician suffering from an asbestos-related disease has received £35,000 following a personal injury compensation claim. 

Unite member Bob Padmore, 65, was exposed to asbestos while working as a maintenance electrician at various building sites in Leicester between 1974 and 1982, and subsequently as a technician at a city centre building from 1992 to 2002.

During some of the larger housing developments, Bob would carry out electrical repairs in boiler rooms. He would often inadvertently disturb asbestos that was used to lag the boilers and pipework. Bob was further exposed to asbestos working with boilers at the second employer, a job that involved crawling through heating ducts covered with asbestos dust to complete repairs.

Neither employer provided Bob with protective breathing equipment, nor was he aware of the health risks associated with working near asbestos. 

"Our experienced legal team is proud to support members like Bob in order to secure full compensation with no deductions. While we hope that his condition does not get worse, he now has the safeguard of a Court Order confirming that he can make a further claim if it does."

Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union

After suffering from chest pains for several weeks Bob visited his GP in January 2014, who referred him for an x-ray that spotted something on his lungs. Further scans confirmed this was pleural thickening – a scarring of the lining of his lungs caused by asbestos exposure decades ago. 

Bob had fluid drained from his lungs and suffers from shortness of breath, limiting his ability to walk as well as do hobbies such as swimming and skiing. He also struggles to continue with employment.

He turned to Unite Legal Services and instructed asbestos disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to make a pleural thickening personal injury claim. He was able to secure £35,000 on a provisional basis, meaning his case can be reopened if his develops a more serious asbestos illness, such as mesothelioma.

“Life has really slowed down since I started suffering from this condition,” said Bob. “Asbestos wasn’t really something I was aware of during my career, so I had to provide Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors with a detailed work history so they could see when and where I was exposed. They were very thorough in their checks and soon helped me make a claim against the two employers. 

“I’m scared about what the future will bring and what my partner will do if my condition deteriorates. I’m fortunate to have received this personal injury payment, on a provisional basis, but I wish I had never been exposed to asbestos to begin with.”

Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Unite Legal Services, with the support of Thompsons Solicitors, has helped thousands of members make personal injury compensation claims for asbestos diseases. Bob’s story is, sadly, not a rare one, and it will be years before the number of people suffering from asbestos exposure will begin to drop.

“Our experienced legal team is proud to support members like Bob in order to secure full compensation with no deductions. While we hope that his condition does not get worse, he now has the safeguard of a Court Order confirming that he can make a further claim if it does.”