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Settlement secured for former sprinkler design engineer following mesothelioma diagnosis

A former sprinkler design engineer has received a six-figure settlement from his previous employer after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibre

14 May 2019

Roland Thexton, aged 77, worked for Mather & Platt Limited, based in Greater Manchester, between 1970 and 1974 as a sprinkler design engineer. His job entailed going to the premises of businesses contracted by Mather & Platt Limited to measure up the buildings for size so that the sprinkler systems could be fitted. In order to do this, Roland had to climb onto girders, access service ducts and work in areas where pipes ran, all of which were believed to be lined or insulated with asbestos. 

In May 2018 Roland was diagnosed with mesothelioma after suffering with chest pains and breathlessness. In June 2018 he was fitted with a pleural catheter and his lungs have to be drained three times a week. 

Roland estimated that between 1970 and 1974 he would spend 50% of his time at buildings measuring for the sprinkler systems, often for a week at a time. 

During his time as a sprinkler design engineer Roland was required to climb onto girders and across pipework in order for him to survey the roof of a building to be fitted. It was common for old buildings to have the girders sprayed with asbestos and pipework lined with asbestos. Roland believes that he disturbed the asbestos when he climbed on the girders and the pipework as his work clothes would be covered in asbestos dust. Roland was also required to work in service ducts and in the boiler room. He believes that the boiler and the central heating and steam pipes were also lagged with asbestos. 

Roland’s time working for Mather & Platt Limited is what he believes caused his mesothelioma. During this time Roland does not remember Mather & Platt Limited providing him with a protective mask or warning him about the dangers of working in close proximity to asbestos. As a result Roland brought a legal case against his former employer through law firm Leigh Day. Mather & Platt admitted liability and Roland received a six-figure settlement from his former employer.

Steven Dickens, asbestos claims solicitor based in Leigh Day’s Manchester office, said: 

“In the early 1970s asbestos was still being used to lag pipework. Roland believes he regularly came into contact with asbestos at building sites while he was working for Mather & Platt Limited. The heaviest exposure could have been when clambering onto girders that were sprayed with asbestos.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement which will help relieve some of the suffering caused by Roland’s illness and provide support for his family.” 

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