Deadline looms for former Corby workers to join legal action against British Steel

Former British Steel workers affected by serious and life-limiting illnesses have less than two weeks left to register to join the group taking legal action against the company.

Monday, 12th February 2018, 1:36 pm
Updated Monday, 12th February 2018, 1:43 pm
Former British Steel workers affected by serious and life-limiting illnesses have less than two weeks left to register to join the group taking legal action against the company

Victims of deadly respiratory diseases and squamous cell skin cancer have until February 23 to register for British Steel group litigation, after which there will be no option for them to join the group action.

Former workers suffering from conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, temporary exacerbation of asthma and lung cancer have been urged to come forward.

The deadline was set by the High Court in October, following its approval of a group litigation order last summer, which was presented by specialist industrial disease lawyers from Hugh James, based in Cardiff, and Irwin Mitchell, who are acting for a number of former British Steel workers from the Corby Glebe and Corby Deene plants.

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Claims for alleged bladder cancer can also potentially join the group.

The separate deadline for those cases only is April 23, 2018, and the register will be closed to people who have not registered their interest in the litigation.

Since the High Court gave approval for the group claim in January 2017, more former workers in England have come forward to potentially join the group action.

It was brought about after hundreds of British Steel workers developed these conditions which are alleged to have been caused by exposure to harmful fumes while working at coking plants in the immediate vicinity of the coke ovens.

Insurers for British Steel have already admitted it was in breach of its duty owed to its employees from 1947 until appropriate respiratory protection was provided to the workforce.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The approval of the group litigation order by the High Court, and the admission by the defendants that until an individual was provided with an appropriate respirator they were in breach of duty, were extremely important milestones and moved the victims and their families a further step closer to securing the justice they deserve concerning the exposure to harmful fumes decades ago at a number of coking plants around the UK.

“The workers we represent, through no fault of their own, developed serious, and in some cases fatal, respiratory illnesses and lung cancers causing them unnecessary pain and suffering when they should be enjoying their later life with their families.

“Nothing can turn back the clock but this legal action will hopefully provide them with the help, support and treatments needed to make dealing with their illness more comfortable.

“With the deadline quickly approaching, we would urge anyone else who feels they were affected by the working conditions at British Steel to come forward so that they too can join the group action and ensure they do not miss out on the justice they deserve.”

Claims can also be investigated on behalf of the estate of former deceased workers. Anyone who is affected should call 0808 302 3861.