Sick Derbyshire miners urged to join British Coal legal action

Chesterfield magistrates' court.Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Former British Coal workers with lung, skin cancer and respiratory diseases have been given until April to join a group taking legal action against the company.

In July, the High Court approved a Group Litigation Order presented by specialist industrial disease lawyers at law firms Irwin Mitchell and Hugh James after they were approached by 350 former coke oven workers suffering health problems related to their employment years ago.

And at a hearing in the High Court last Wednesday, December 16, the court confirmed the closing date for illness victims to register to join as April 24, 2016, and lawyers are urging people affected to sign up as soon as possible.

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The workers and relatives affected by these issues were employed by British Coal, Coal Products Limited and National Smokeless Fuels Limited at coking plants around the country including Derbyshire, Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire and South Wales. The lawyers handling the case would also like to hear from former British Coal workers in Lancashire.

It is alleged British Coal and their subsidiaries failed to identify the risks associated with workers’ exposure to dust and fumes and that protective measures were not implemented to prevent workers being exposed.

Roger Maddocks, of Irwin Mitchell, said: “Over the past two years we have been working to gather the evidence needed to ensure every worker affected by the poor management of risks in the coking industry will have their opportunity for justice.”

Those interested can call the National Coal Board or British Coal, or British Steel or its subsidiaries and can contact Irwin Mitchell or Hugh James on 0800 6525524.