TIME is running out for former British Steel workers with life-limiting conditions to join a group taking legal action against their former employers.

Victims of deadly respiratory diseases have just over a week to take part in a High Court battle currently being fought by people who worked at plants across the UK.

Solicitors Irwin Mitchell are acting for more than 30 former employees from the Acklam Iron Works and South Bank plant on Teesside, as well as for a number of former workers at plants in Consett, Hartlepool and Shotton. Hundreds more people have lodged claims in Wales.

The legal case is based on claims that workers were exposed to harmful fumes during their careers at coking plants around the UK and consequently developed serious, sometimes fatal, illnesses.

Insurers for British Steel have admitted that the company was in breach of duty from 1947 until it began providing appropriate respiratory protection to its workforce.

Irwin Mitchell is now urging former steel workers suffering from life-threatening and debilitating diseases – including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, temporary exacerbation of asthma, lung and squamous cell skin cancer – to join the group action before the High Court deadline of Friday, February 23.

A separate deadline of April 23 for those suffering from bladder cancer has been implemented at the defendants’ request with court approval.

Roger Maddocks, a partner at the law firm, said recent developments in the case - including the breach of duty admission – had “moved the victims and their families a further step closer to securing the justice they deserve.”

He said: ““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.”

  • For more information about how to join the group action, contact Amber Connolly at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0111 or email Amber.Connolly@IrwinMitchell.com