A FACTORY worker who breathed in dangerous fumes sued his former employer and won £28,000.

Tom Heron took Dorcan firm Tyco Electronics to tribunal for constructive dismissal after the judge ruled that the company had failed to keep the factory safe and was too slow to respond to his concerns when he developed an inhalation injury after breathing in fumes from a dryer.

Mr Heron took on the multinational company, also known as TE Connectivity, himself and represented himself in court. He spent months reading up on the case and law.

The 60-year-old from Royal Wootton Bassett said: “Facing a barrister isn’t something that I’d put on a bucket list but I’m happy that I did it.

"People are scared to take big companies like this to court but sometimes you have to stand up to them and not let them get away with it.

“I was very nervous before the first day of the tribunal, but I did my homework and I was over the moon when I heard the verdict, very glad that justice was done.”

His case dates back to February 2016 when a dryer was moved around the Swindon factory without its extraction ventilation being replaced. An outside service company then discovered a fault in the dryer and told Tyco to replace its contaminated beds.

Instead, the “volatile substances” inside the dryer were burnt off, which caused dangerous fumes to be released. Tom repeatedly asked his bosses what was in the fumes and what effect they would have on his health but wasn’t given a full answer until more than a year later.

According to the judge's findings, the attitude of his superiors, emphasised when they ignored the advice of an occupational health nurse, made him feel unsafe at work and when they tried to move him to a new part of the site against his wishes, that was the last straw and he resigned. The case lasted from September 2017 to December 2018. The extent of Mr Heron’s injuries is being determined in another ongoing case. He now works as a chauffeur.

He added: “I got told off a few times during my cross-examinations because I asked too many questions at once, but the judge was accommodating. He said it was rare for someone to win a case like this unrepresented.”

The Adver approached Tyco for comment but did not receive a reply.