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Dockyard workers win £35m in asbestos poisoning compensation

Figures have been released by the Ministry of Defence revealing that dockyard workers have been awarded a total of £35m in compensation for asbestos poisoning at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth. A Freedom of Information Act request has highlighted that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has had to settle a total of 273 cases for asbestos-related illnesses in the last 7 years, (spanning from 2006 to 2013). These compensation claims led to a total of £19.4m being paid out.

Plymouth has been highlighted as the city with the highest rates of asbestos-related illness in the country.  Asbestos is used widely on ships and in buildings at the Royal Navy yard, contributing to the vast number of those suffering with related illnesses.  A lack of appropriate health and safety regulations also seem to be a contributing factor, with hundreds of workers inhaling asbestos every day.  When inhaled, the tiny asbestos fibers can cause numerous lung diseases, from pleural plaques to the fatal cancer mesothelioma.

“We have come a long way”

The figures released by the MoD found that 2008-09 saw the highest payout figure, with £719,000 being awarded in compensation. The lowest was £3,700.  Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, Alison Seabeack, said: “We have come a long way in terms of understanding how to protect workers and it is clearly right, when they weren’t properly protected, that the MoD meets its obligations.”  An improvement in the protection of workers continues to develop, but some campaigners still argue that not enough is being done to compensate those affected.

If you have suffered an asbestos-related injury, and are looking to claim compensation, please contact us.


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