HSBC pays £900,000 in compensation to woman with asbestos-linked cancer

A woman who was exposed to asbestos during her time working for Midland Bank from the 1970s to the 1980s, and who later developed an asbestos-linked cancer, has been handed £900,000 in compensation by her former employer’s successor company HSBC.

Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm representing the worker, said the cancer was only brought to her attention when she had her chest x-rayed following a car crash in 2018.

The woman — referred to as ‘DT’ — found out at the age of 57 that she had mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive type of cancer.

Having been advised that her health could quickly deteriorate, DT resigned from work so that she could receive life-extending treatment.

hsbc buildings

A history of asbestos exposure

With over 80% of mesothelioma cases known to result from asbestos exposure, DT recalled working as a junior clerk at Midland Bank’s Alfreton Road branch in Nottingham back in the 1970s and 1980s.

The job included daily filing in the building’s loft area, where she struggled to open cabinets lined with asbestos fireproof boarding.

DT recollected: “I often had to tug at the drawers, which would result in little puffs of dust filling the air. The pipes I would often sit on to carry out my work were also lagged with asbestos, so when I was diagnosed, I knew straight away where I had been exposed.”

She added: “I just didn’t know at 17 years old what the consequences would be.”

However, having reportedly accepted full liability, HSBC has agreed to pay out £900,000. The sum reflects the significant earnings lost by DT, who has previously worked in several executive and non-executive positions in the public and private sector.

Warnings for the future

DT, also highly qualified as an academic, intends to put the compensation money towards life-extending treatment as well as ongoing care.

She further stated: “What has happened to me emphasises the potential risks that women faced while working in the ‘70s and ‘80s in office environments that are not usually associated with asbestos exposure.

“I hope that by speaking out about my experience, I can help spread the message that asbestos-related illnesses don’t just affect men,” she added.

With asbestos having long been strongly associated with male-dominated industrial settings such as mines and factories, DT has strived to contact former Midland Bank co-workers to warn them of the asbestos exposure risk they had run.

Nikki Hammonds, a lawyer in Thompsons Solicitors’ asbestos claims team, stated that “DT’s employer had been responsible for protecting workers from exposure, yet it failed to take any action to provide protective equipment or to remove the dangerous dust.”

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