The family of a British woman who literally served as a “poster girl” for a large asbestos products manufacturer in the United Kingdom was recently awarded compensation for her pain and suffering, more than 5 years after the woman died from exposure to the very products she helped promote.
According to an article in the Manchester News, Martha Charlson helped promote the acceptable image of Turner and Newall Manufacturers at its heyday during the 1950s and 60s, when her photo appeared in a booklet detailing the firm’s history.
”She was pictured working at a spotless-looking asbestos spinning machine on the factory floor at Turner Brothers premises in Rochdale in 1957,” the article points out. “But the photo was hardly a reflection of the real conditions she and hundreds of fellow workers endured.”
Mrs. Charlson retired in 2002 at age 64. She died just a few short months later. She had been employed at Turner and Newall – once the world’s biggest asbestos producer – since the age of 16, handling asbestos-treated yarn.
“My mum died while waiting for this compensation. She knew she would not see the money in her lifetime but it was important to her to fight for a sense of justice,” said Charlson’s daughter, Louise Keefe.
“She felt very angry that she had worked with such a dangerous substance but had never been warned about the consequences.”
“My mum retired on Saturday and became ill on the Sunday. She did not get a retirement and she was very angry about that – we all still are. She became ill because of her work. At the time she was on good money, but when she realized she was ill she said it was danger money,” Keefe added.
The article notes that all compensation claims against Turner and Newall were frozen in 2001 after the company went into bankruptcy in the UK.
”Claims were suspended while administrators reached agreement with the company’s insurers and parent company Federal Mogul. The payouts now come from a trust set up by the administrators after the High Court approved a deal which allowed claimants to receive a share of their entitled awards,” the article explains.