Blackpool man claims he developed cancer after working at Sellafield nuclear plant

A Blackpool man who blames the asbestos related cancer he is now suffering from on his work over 50 years ago at Sellafield nuclear fuel recycling plant has now launched a High Court claim for more than £200,000.

By Simon Drury
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 9:39 am

David Fife, 75, of 17,Oldfield Avenue, Bispham, has developed malignant mesothelioma, an incurable cancer affecting the delicate tissues surrounding his lungs, which is inevitably fatal.

Now he is suing his former employers Sellafield Ltd, of Hinton House, Birchwood Park Avenue, Risley, Warrington, saying the company and its predecessors negligently exposed him to asbestos dust.

He worked at Sellafield, now one of the world’s oldest nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, between 1967 and 1973, according to a writ issued at the court in London and just made publicly available.

The Sellafield nuclear plant

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Mr Fife, says in the writ that he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres when he spent up to two weeks in the contact workshop, machining soft blocks containing asbestos.

He swept down the milling machine every few hours with a soft hand brush, releasing clouds of asbestos dust, which he swept at the end of every day, he says.

He worked with Sindanyo, which contained asbestos, and used a piece of cardboard or metal to shield himself from the swarf and dust created as it came off the lathe, the court will hear. He was surrounded by clouds of asbestos dust, which settled on the surface around the lathe before he used a dry rag to wipe down the machine, he says.

Mr Fife says he was present when cleaners swept up around him, and worked underneath steam pipes lagged with asbestos in poor condition, with bits of lagging hanging down from the pipework. When labourers swept up under the pipework, clouds of dust and asbestos dust were liberated.

He accuses his former employers of failing to warn him of the risks to health from asbestos dust, and failing to instruct him about precautions and methods of minimizing the release of asbestos dust.

The company also negligently failed to segregate him from workers using asbestos, failed to ventilate his workplace properly, failed to damp down asbestos dust, failed to give him breathing apparatus or a mask, or protective clothing, the writ claims.