‘Arthur paid the ultimate price’ - partner of mesothelioma victim wants to know more about Great Yarmouth factory conditions
PUBLISHED: 14:10 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:32 28 February 2014
The devastated partner of a former Great Yarmouth factory worker who died of an incurable industrial illness is appealing for his ex-colleagues to help lawyers investigate whether more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him from the deadly asbestos dust.
Arthur Harry Scriven, of Gorleston, died aged 89 after a nine-month battle with mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres.
Before his death Mr Scriven told his family he believed he was exposed to asbestos while working as a labourer at egg box factory Hartmann Fibre Co Limited in Yarmouth, which later changed its name to Omni-Pac UK Limited. The Yarmouth factory was destroyed by fire in 2002.
Arthur, who worked for the firm between 1960 and 1966, operated the industrial machines used to make the boxes and he regularly handled large asbestos sheets used in the production process.
Izza Dhidahe Benyoussef, his partner of 10 years, has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell and together they are appealing for Mr Scriven’s ex colleagues to come forward with information on how Hartmann Fibre Co Limited may have used asbestos.
Mr Scriven first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma in summer 2011 when he suffered a persistent cough. His GP referred him to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston where further tests and scans confirmed he was suffering from mesothelioma in April 2012.
He died on January 29, 2013.
Ms Benyoussef, 62, said: “Losing Arthur has been a heartbreaking blow for the whole family and it’s incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact we’ve lost him to such a terrible illness.
“We first started to notice his symptoms during the summer of 2011 and at the time Arthur just thought it was his asthma flaring up. There was no improvement and I begged him to go and see his doctor. Sadly, the prognosis wasn’t good and we lost him nine months later.
“I hope his ex-workmates from Hartmann Fibre Co Limited will now help me get the answers I deserve about Arthur’s asbestos exposure so I can finally honour his memory.”
Martyn Hayward, the specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Ms Benyoussef, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress to victims like Arthur and their families. Sadly, many employers did not do enough to protect their employees from the harmful effects of asbestos and Arthur paid the ultimate price.
“We know the firm has used asbestos in the past because Omni-Pak were fined £50,000 following a prosecution at Norwich Crown Court in 2003 after an investigation showed blue asbestos lagging discovered at the firm’s South Deans Road factory was in a disturbed state.
“It was found that the primary source of asbestos contamination was from damaged and poorly-maintained asbestos insulation on top of dryers used to produce the finished papier-mâché egg cartons. The company admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
“We hope Arthur’s former workmates will be able to confirm details about how Hartmann Fibre Co Limited used asbestos in the 1960s and if more could potentially have been done by his employers to protect him so that we can help Izza honour Arthur’s memory and get the answers she deserves.”
Anyone with information on working conditions at Hartmann Fibre Co Limited in the 1960s can contact Mr Hayward on 0114 274 4420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.