Novum Law helps former British Rail worker from Eastleigh Works diagnosed with asbestosis and lung cancer

Specialist asbestos disease solicitor Alison Sayers from our Southampton team, recently secured compensation for a former British Rail worker who worked at Eastleigh Works in Hampshire for his whole working life.

Sadly, Mr ‘Smith’, who worked at Eastleigh Works from the age of 14 right up to his retirement aged 65, was diagnosed with asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer after years of being exposed to asbestos at the carriage and wagon building and repair works in Eastleigh.

Mr Smith started his working life as an office boy at the railway works before working as an apprentice fitter and turner at the carriage works on Dutton Road. He then joined the locomotive works on Campbell Road and later in his career, he became a progress chaser.

Asbestos at British Rail’s Eastleigh Works

There is a long history of railway carriage, wagon and locomotive construction, refurbishment, and repair at the Eastleigh Works, dating way back to around 1891. There was a plumbers’ shop, finishers shop, paint shop, sawmill, wagon shop, trimming shop, machine shop, welding shop, carpenter shop, blacksmiths, and wheel shop, and more.

Asbestos was an accepted part of the job at Eastleigh Works due to its fire-resistant properties. Asbestos powder was mixed with water to create a spray which was then used inside the railway carriages to prevent the spread of fire.

Asbestos was also used for insulation behind side walls and ceiling panels in train carriages and as lagging on the boilers and pipes. The shops were never deep cleaned, so the asbestos dust and residue accumulated over many years, creating a very dusty and dirty working environment.

Mr Smith recalls removing asbestos from diesel shunters and working in the ‘stripping gang’ where he stripped asbestos lagging from boilers and pipes on locomotives using his bare hands and small tools. After the repair work was finished, he used asbestos to re-insulate the boilers, pipes, and cab. He worked close to others who were spraying asbestos onto the heating elements in the locomotives too.

Unfortunately for Mr Smith, British Rail failed to ensure adequate precautions were taken to prevent the risk of harmful asbestos exposure. Mr Smith was not provided with any protection equipment, such as a respiratory mask, protective clothing, or exhaust equipment, and as a result, he breathed in microscopic asbestos dust and fibres every single day for decades.

Getting asbestos compensation

Mr Smith asked for Novum Law’s help after he was diagnosed with asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer.

Specialist asbestos disease solicitor Alison Sayers explains:

“If you have been negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace, it is important to get expert legal advice from a solicitor with experience in asbestos claims.

“In a civil claim for asbestos compensation, it has to be proved that the most likely cause of your disease was the asbestos exposure and nothing else. To prove the cause of Mr Smith’s asbestosis and lung cancer, we had to provide evidence that he was exposed to moderate to heavy doses of asbestos relatively frequently, and over many years.

“Fortunately, Mr Smith’s employers accepted that they negligently exposed him to asbestos and they accepted the medical evidence that this exposure caused his asbestos-related diseases.

“We were delighted to secure compensation for Mr Smith’s pain, suffering and the financial losses he incurred as a result of his serious conditions.”

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, Novum Law’s team of specialist asbestos disease solicitors can help on a No Win, No Fee basis. To find out more information, contact us on Freephone: 0800 884 0777, email: or complete our online enquiry form.


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