The family of a woman who died from a cancer caused by asbestos are set to be awarded more than £360,000 in compensation.
The relatives of Winifred Thacker sued her former employer North British Steel Group Ltd after she passed away aged 67 from Mesothelioma in September 2014 .
Mrs Thacker, of Armadale, West Lothian, was an office worker at the firm’s foundry in the town between 1963 and 1968.
Her family maintained that whilst working there, Mrs Thacker was exposed to high levels of asbestos dust which caused her to fall seriously ill in later life.
Their lawyers told judge Lady Wise at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that her bosses didn’t do enough to protect Mrs Thacker from exposure to the deadly substance.
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The court heard that during the 1960s, Businesses had knowledge that being exposed to asbestos was harmful to people.
In a judgment issued on Wednesday, Lady Wise ruled in favour of the family and declared that they should receive compensation.
She wrote: “In the present case, I have found that the deceased was directly exposed to significant quantities of dust, including asbestos dust, until she ceased employment in 1968.
“Accordingly, between the end of 1965 and the termination of her employment with the defender in 1968, the defender knew or ought to have known that any exposure to asbestos dust was likely to be injurious to Mrs Thacker.
“I conclude that the defender breached the duty to the deceased during that period by failing to take any steps to reduce or negate her exposure.
“The failure to provide a mask to Mrs Thacker (or to take steps to see to it that masks were worn by all employees) is a sufficient basis to find that no reasonably practicable steps were taken to protect employees such as the deceased.”
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The judgement tells of how the lawyers in the case had agreed that Mrs Thacker had died from Mesothelioma.
The lawyers argued before Lady Wise on the subject of whether Mrs Thacker was exposed to substantial quantities of dust during her time at the foundry.
Mrs Thacker fell ill with the cancer in April 2014. Doctors diagnosed the condition in August 2014 and she passed away the following month.
Evidence was led before the court that despite working in an office at the foundry, Mrs Thacker was exposed to large amounts of asbestos dust.
The court also heard that bosses at the foundry didn’t force their staff to wear masks to shield them from the asbestos.
And Lady Wise also heard that by the mid 1960s, scientists concluded that people should take care when working in close proximity to the substance.
Lady Wise concluded that Mrs Thacker’s employers didn’t do enough to protect her.
Mrs Thacker’s husband John, her daughter, granddaughter, and sister raised the action in court.
Lawyers in the case agreed at the start of proceedings that if the judge ruled in favour of the family, compensation should be set at a total of £360,000.
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However, the final settlement maybe higher as Lady Wise will now consider legal submissions about whether interest should be added to the sum.
She wrote: “In conclusion, I find that the pursuers succeed as they have proved that the processes undertaken in the defender’s foundry during the period of the deceased’s employment there created substantial dust, including asbestos dust to which the deceased was regularly and frequently exposed.
“Her exposure was to an extent likely to be injurious to her. That injury was reasonably foreseeable and the defender did nothing to prevent it.
“The quantum of damages is agreed. Interest requires to be added to the sums. Accordingly, I will fix a hearing so that I can be addressed on the precise sums to be awarded in the decree in the pursuers’ favour and also on any question of expenses, which I meantime reserve.”
Source : HeraldScotland