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A father from Wigan has started legal proceedings against his former employer, claiming that the factory he worked in caused him to become terminally ill.

Michael Fernay, a former fitter, has been given just months to live, having been diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. Fernay, 65, believes the condition was brought on as a result of exposure to chemicals years ago.

Appealing for former colleagues to help him investigate links, Fernay says he believes he was never given PPE while he was handling benzene.

An industrial illness specialist firm of solicitors has also been instructed by Fernay.

Speaking about his fears over handling benzene, a carcinogen, Fernay said:

“I remember the pipework I worked on being covered in benzene residue.

“Sometimes there was still benzene fluid in the pipes I was removing which spilt on to my overalls and hands.

“During my time working at the plant I don’t remember ever being supplied with protective clothing or given warnings about coming into contact with benzene. There wasn’t that sort of attention to health and safety in those days.”

Fernay went on to say that a growing evidence base now exists linking his condition, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), with the chemical.

Fernay used to work at the British Glue and Chemicals factory in Appley Bridge from 1964 to 1973. However, that firm no longer exists, having been taken over by Croda International in 1968.

The compensation claim would then go through Croda, making the challenge the first of its kind in the UK.

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