Coroner suggests worker’s death connected to tyre manufacturing work at Goodyear

A coroner has connected the death of a former worker at Goodyear’s Wolverhampton factory to years of employment in tyre production. Fred Spruce died in November 2015, just weeks after he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. His 71-year-old widow Valerie has now instructed industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how this happened.

According to the family’s lawyer’s, Fred Spruce joined Goodyear Tyres in September 1961 and worked at its Stafford Road branch in Wolverhampton before retiring in December 2003.

The father-of-one was diagnosed with metastatic carcinoma of the bladder in October 2015 after he suffered dramatic weight loss and went to his GP. He died on November 14, 2015, aged 72.

Irwin Mitchell’s statement suggested: “Due to the methods used to process and manufacture vehicle tyres, the work environment may be contaminated with dusts, gases, vapors, fumes, and chemical by products to which workers can be exposed through inhalation and skin absorption. At the inquest into his death, held in December last year, South Staffordshire Senior Coroner Andrew Haigh concluded that Fred’s death came after 42 years of exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.”

Valerie Spruce, who was married to Fred for over 50 years, commented: “Fred spent 42 years working for Goodyear Tyres, had a wonderful career and made many life-long friends, so when I found out after he died that his bladder cancer was caused by his exposure to the tyre rubber, I was shocked and heartbroken.”

In answer to Tyres & Accessories questions, Goodyear gave this official statement: “We have not been contacted in relation to this particular case. As a manufacturer we take our responsibilities to our associates very seriously. Goodyear facilities, including the Wolverhampton plant, operate in accordance with applicable EU health and safety regulations, including those related to the use and handling of all chemicals.”

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