Asbestos victim’s family in safety plea to employers

Asbestos victim’s family in safety plea to employers

THE family of a Liversedge woman who died of an asbestos-related disease are calling for employers to take more responsibility over the dangerous material.

Mother-of-two Celia Brackenbury, from Littletown, died at the age of 82, two years after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung most commonly linked to asbestos exposure.

An inquest earlier this month at Wakefield Coroner’s Court concluded that she died from industrial disease.

Prior to her death last August, Celia instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she developed mesothelioma. 

The experts launched legal action alleging that her exposure to asbestos happened when she worked at British Belting and Asbestos (BBA) in Cleckheaton as a comptometer operator between 1951 and 1960.

She said that her job involved working out the cost of everything made by the company and that she often had to go into production areas to seek further information.

BBA was the largest employer in the Spen Valley for many years and was one of the defining features of Cleckheaton during the 20th century.

At its height the company employed 3,000 people, with a site covering 30 acres at Moorend. The firm made brake and clutch linings, asbestos textiles, packings and jointings, conveyor and transmission beltings and industrial plastics. In more recent years the firm diversified and sold off its materials division.

Celia’s family are now continuing the legal battle in her memory and have joined with Irwin Mitchell to call on employers to always put safety first where asbestos is concerned.

They have made the plea ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on Sunday (April 28), which this year is based around the theme of ‘dangerous substances: get them out of the workplace’.

Celia’s husband Donald, 82, said: “It was truly awful to see how mesothelioma affected Celia in the final years of her life and the entire family misses her so much.

“She was an incredible wife, mother and grandmother and not a day goes by when we do not think about her. Asbestos has touched Celia’s family so much down the years and it was hard to take that she herself was ultimately affected by it too.

“This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day and its theme on dangerous substances is very welcome as it is putting issues like asbestos firmly in the spotlight. 

“This material should not be allowed to impact on other lives and employers need to ensure workers are protected from it.”

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