Brother’s appeal to solve tragedy of Bradford man's death

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Michael Bannister Michael Bannister

A former Bradford carpet factory which has been linked to a number of asbestos-related deaths is under the spotlight again after an inquest recorded a death last year from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.

Associated Weavers, later known as Carpets International, on Toftshaw Lane in Bradford, was previously investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a number of former employees developed asbestos-related diseases.

One former employee Michael Bannister, 71, of Bradford, died in April, 2013 after he was diagnosed with a cancer, mesothelioma.

His brother John Bannister has now instructed asbestos-related disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and when his brother was exposed to asbestos.

Irwin Mitchell is appealing for Mr Bannister’s former Associated Weavers’ colleagues to come forward to help piece together his working conditions.

Mr Bannister began work at Associated Weavers in Bradford in the 1960s and between 1973 and 1981, where it is believed he worked as a labourer in the dyehouse and in the warehouse.

His brother said: “It was difficult to watch Michael battle this disease and for his health to decline as it did.

“All he did was go to work and do his job. As his illness progressed, he had to move into the Marie Curie hospice to be cared for as he needed round the clock care.

“I urge anyone who worked with or knew Michael to come forward with any information so we can move his case forward and receive justice.

“We want to know how and where he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and why more wasn’t done to protect him whilst at work.”

Ian Bailey, a partner and expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, leading the case, said there had been a “high number of deaths” relating to the company.

He said: “I investigated deaths of workers at the company more than ten years ago, but years on I am shocked to find deaths still happening from the factory.

“I am very keen to speak to anybody who worked with Michael during his career at Associated Weavers as we believe they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and the working conditions he faced.

“Mesothelioma is an industrial illness for which there is sadly no cure. Employers have been aware of the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos dust since the 1950s and 60s and this case highlights the devastating consequences the disease can have.

“The cancer takes decades from exposure to the deadly dust before the symptoms develop but when they do the diseases takes hold very aggressively.”

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to contact Mr Bailey on (0113) 2206235 or e-mail ian.bailey@ irwinmitchell.com.

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