Mr Rowsell's job included laying out complex wiring for sensitive components in delicate electronic instruments. Like his colleagues, he experienced problems soldering the intricate parts together and in applying heat to the "shrink on" coverings that protected the individual wires - connecting up one set of wires to one or other component was liable to damage neighbouring components or connections so that the electronic assembly would fail Quality Control and would be rejected.
Mr Rowsell and others also used a large commercial oven to heat certain components to high temperatures for "curing". When removing these components from the oven they used heatproof gauntlets which contained asbestos.
In about 1978 Mr Rowsell and his colleagues developed a new system for soldering and for applying the heat gun to the "shrink on" coverings. In order to protect the delicate components from the heat that was being applied nearby they would cut out small pieces from the heatproof gauntlets and form heat resistant pads which they would place between the closely spaced components. This prevented heat damage and the number of rejects at Quality Control fell.
After some months the system changed so that aluminium foil was used to protect the components rather than the asbestos pads made from gauntlets – the foil would conduct the heat away so that no harm was caused.
But Mr Rowsell was exposed to the asbestos from the gauntlets. This was the only known asbestos exposure. As a result of this exposure Mr Rowsell developed the asbestos disease of mesothelioma.
In August 2014 Mr Rowsell contacted Andrew Morgan for advice. Andrew went to see Mr Rowsell at home near Portsmouth and took a full statement from him. He identified the successor to the 1970s company and made a claim. He obtained Mr Rowsell's medical records and instructed a medical expert to prepare a report. He identified the insurers and entered into negotiations. He obtained an offer in January 2015 which Mr Rowsell was happy to accept.
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