A recent case illustrates that, contrary to popular conception, the risk of developing an asbestos-related illness is not confined to ship and dockyard workers or those who have worked in heavy industry as laggers and maintenance electricians.
A Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) employee has been awarded compensation after he developed pleural thickening, a disease associated with exposure to asbestos.
Alan Morris, 71, had worked for the RSC for 39 years, first as a stage hand then later as a master carpenter, until his retirement in 1997. In 2005 he began to suffer breathing difficulties. He visited his doctor who diagnosed pleural thickening. This is a disabling condition which causes the tissue of the lungs to harden.
Although Mr Morris had not realised it at the time, he had been exposed to asbestos while working for the RSC. Some of the stage props, safety curtains and fabric of the buildings where he worked contained asbestos. He now suffers from shortness of breath when walking and playing golf. Although the condition is not in itself fatal, there is a risk that sufferers will develop a more serious asbestos-related disease in the future.
Mr Morris’s employer admitted liability and he was awarded £18,000 in compensation.
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