Slater and Gordon Lawyers is urging former employees from the Goodyear Dunlop tyre factory in Thomastown to lodge their details on the firm’s asbestos register, as it pursues a compensation claim on behalf of a former worker.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Claire Setches said her client, John Melissinos, 71, was now in poor health after being diagnosed with asebstosis. Mr Melissinos had worked at the Goodyear Dunlop tyre factory in High St, Thomastown from 1975 to 1985.
Mr Melissinos had been exposed to and inhaled substantial quantities of asbestos in the course of his employment as he removed and applied asbestos lagging to steam pipes and oil tanks, and during its use in the tyre-manufacturing process. He had also been exposed to asbestos from brake pads, and in the process of removing asbestos debris from the factory floor.
Ms Setches said her client now suffered from asbestosis, breathlessness, shock and anxiety, and a significantly-increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
“He now also has to cope with a multitude of costs – including medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical costs, and travel costs as he makes his way to appointments and treatments,” she said.
“What’s more, he will need to rely on the kindness of his friends and family for the rest of his life, as he moves into his senior years with a serious lung condition.”
Ms Setches said many people were not aware that Goodyear Dunlop had used asbestos products in the tyre-manufacturing process.
“Unfortunately, it did. It used asbestos-containing lagging material on steam pipes and in machinery used to manufacture tyres,” she said.
“Many people are not aware asbestos was used in the tyre-manufacturing process. Many workers who’ve worked in similar roles to Mr Melissinos would have been unknowingly and unwittingly been exposed, as uncontrolled removal of asbestos occurred in their day-to-day work.
“Goodyear Dunlop knew or ought to have known its employees were at danger of inhaling asbestos and developing serious lung disease as a consequence, but it failed to take any precautions.”
Mr Melissinos said he hoped others who’d worked in tyre-manufacturing would take heed.
“Most people have no idea that asbestos was used in the tyre industry. I would urge any former workers to speak to their doctor and lawyer as soon as possible,” he said.
Ms Setches said while she did not want to alarm anyone – and it certainly wasn’t the case that everyone who has been exposed to asbestos develops lung cancer or other lung conditions – it was vital any ex-employees of the Thomastown factory put their names on the firm’s asbestos register.
“Slater and Gordon’s register builds a database of workplaces where asbestos has been used, and is a comprehensive reference point in the event that workers develop an asbestos-related disease,” she said.
“If in the future, workers are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it means we can move quickly to identify how and where the exposure happened.”