Unfortunately, we were not able to speak to Thomas about his work history as we were instructed after his death. His widow was unable to provide any information and therefore we had to try and ascertain how he came into contact with asbestos. His children were aware that he had worked for Shell at their refinery in Stanford Le Hope as a charge hand in the materials department for many years.
We researched our database of previous cases against or involving the Shell refinery and found a number of witnesses who we wrote to. One witness was willing to provide a statement about the use of asbestos at the refinery. He had worked at the site for over 30 years and towards the end of his time at the refinery he was maintenance supervisor and manager of fire and security. He was present in the 1980's and 1990's when asbestos was being removed from the site. The witness had knowledge of the materials department and the types of products that Thomas would have handled, some of which would have contained asbestos. For example, Thomas would have assisted with collecting the overalls from the other workers in the refinery for the laundry service. The overalls would have had asbestos dust on them.
Thomas was described by his children as an incredibly active man; he bought a motorbike when he was 64, and attended Notting Hill carnival when he was 92!
The insurers for Shell did not accept liability and therefore we had to bring court proceedings to resolve the claim. The claim was then settled for a sum which the family were happy to accept. The compensation will help the family with the care that their mother will require in the future.
Following settlement Thomas' daughter said that Dushal "really put me at ease; he was approachable so we were able to ask questions about the case. I can not say how strongly I appreciate the help he gave us and how considerate he was regarding the sensitive issues".
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