A great-grandfather is trying to trace former work colleagues who might be able to shed light on the use of asbestos at a dairy.
Ian Raistrick, of Shipley, is coming to terms with the devastating news he is suffering from the incurable asbestos-related disease mesothelioma.
He has been battling lung cancer for the past two years, which he believes was caused by exposure to asbestos during his career at the Model Milk Company in Laisterdyke, Bradford, where he worked between 1963 and 1968.
Mr Raistrick worked at the dairy and milk bottling plant, now called Express Dairies Northern Limited, as a maintenance electrician and worked in the boiler room.
The 73-year-old worked alongside contractors commissioned to build a new boiler, which involved mixing and applying large amounts of asbestos.
For the past two years, Mr Raistrick, who has been married to his wife Mavis Ann for 53 years, has suffered breathlessness.
Oxygen and steroids have failed to improve his condition. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 and has endured nine courses of radiotherapy.
He said: “I was never warned about the risks of asbestos or given any training, information or protective clothing by the dairy. It was very dirty and dusty in the boiler house where I spent most of my time feeding the boilers or repairing them. My work often involved crawling around or standing on the main free-standing boiler, which chipped off the asbestos lagging. I couldn’t help but breathe it in.
“Repairing the main boiler was the biggest job which involved asbestos as I had to carry a large 100lb sack of asbestos powder, mix it in an industrial sized bucket and then cover the boiler with the thick mixture. The job would create clouds of dust and it’s just devastating to think this is what has caused my illness.
“I knew when I was diagnosed with pleural plaques a few years ago that nothing could be done to cure the condition or prevent it from eventually taking hold more seriously but it’s horrible to think all of this could have been prevented if I was given more advice and protection by the dairy.”
Ian Toft, an industrial disease expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell is now representing Mr Raistrick and is hoping former colleagues can help provide information about the past working conditions at the dairy and to identify the firm’s insurance company.
Mr Toft said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer and causes so much distress and disruption to victims like Mr Raistrick and their families. I’d urge anyone who can shed light on the working conditions at the dairy and crucially who the dairy’s insurance company is to get in touch so that we can help Mr Raistrick get the justice he deserves.”
Anyone with information can contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0870 1500 100 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.