A 78-YEAR-OLD man with a condition caused by working with asbestos at an old Stroud factory in the 1960s has spoken out about his experience.
Paul Smith – who worked at the Fibrecrete plant at Chalford Industrial Estate between 1964 until 1967 – has spoken out after being diagnosed with a condition which causes thickening of his lungs.
The plant closed just before asbestos regulation started to be introduced from 1969 onwards.
Until then employees were making asbestos drainpipes, guttering and corrugated roofing panels with little protection against the deadly dust.
In 1967, Mr Smith’s sister saw a TV programme about asbestos and he left the company soon after – but the long-term damage to his health was already done.
Now, Mr Smith, who has three children and lives with his wife Lyn in Yate, South Gloucestershire, is trying to get compensation and raise awareness of the issue.
“I was on a machine that produced asbestos and would go home looking like Father Christmas,” he said.
“I used to take home about £60 a week.
“Although the money was fantastic at the time I realise I would have been better off not working there at all.
“Recently, after having a chest infection, I went for a CT scan at Southmead Hospital where they noticed a thickening of the lung.
“I am now due to go for a second CT scan.
“I am 78-years-old and I shouldn’t be too upset about everything, all things considered.
“I go through life, beat off all the rubbish that it can bring, and then something from 60 years ago comes back to bite me.
“To be honest, the experience was fantastic but we didn’t know at the time what was happening to us.”
Peter Lodge of Festival Law in Cheltenham is well-acquainted with the problems associated with Fibrecrete.
“With Stroud having a longstanding industrial history, many employees will have been exposed to asbestos over the years,” he said.
“Sadly some of those will go on to develop asbestos related disease.
“We have pursued many claims for people in the Stroud area.
“For those who have been diagnosed, and are concerned that the company for whom they worked no longer exists, it is always worth getting legal advice as there may be possible routes to compensation.”