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Boyes Turner specialist industrial disease lawyers were instructed in a fatal mesothelioma claim by Mr X’s widow.  Sadly Mr X died from mesothelioma on 28 December 2011.

History of exposure

Mr X had been exposed to asbestos dust during his employment with W&A Davies Ltd  and Torfaen Borough Council.

An independent witness who assisted with the claim confirmed that Mr X was employed for about 5 years by W&A Davies Ltd as an apprentice plasterer and tiler and was exposed to asbestos fitting soffits which contained asbestos.

He first knocked off old soffits which often contained asbestos using a hammer and threw debris onto the ground. He used a handsaw to cut new soffits from sheets of asbestos. When they fitted new soffits they swept away dust with a broom and shovel.

Mr X also fitted tiles which contained asbestos to the roofs of buildings. When they were replacing old asbestos tiles, they ripped the old tiles using a hammer and threw them to the ground. They cut new asbestos tiles using a sax. They swept up debris using brooms and shovels. They also nailed asbestos tiles.

Mr X fitted asbestos sheets inside buildings. He cut the sheets to size using a handsaw. He fitted asbestos sheets to the ceilings of garages. He knocked out old asbestos sheets using a hammer and then fitted new asbestos sheets. Mr X fitted asbestos sheets inside airing cupboards, cutting the asbestos sheets to size with a handsaw and nailing them to a timber frame in the airing cupboards.

Evidence 

The evidence of the independent witness was that masks were not provided and there were no warnings of the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

Evidence from 2 other witnesses described Mr X’s asbestos exposure during employment with Torfaen County Borough Council. 

The witnesses stated that they worked with, and in close proximity to, asbestos materials and products during their time with the Council.

Asbestos materials were found in the soil pipes of buildings, bath panels, heat boarding, fire places, soffits and fascias and boards which rested on top of the steel girders. Some of the garages had asbestos corrugated roofs and some of the outhouses were made with asbestos sheeting and had asbestos roofs.

Further exposure

Mr X was employed as a building inspector and inspected jobs such as replacing a fire place and a solid fuel back boiler. Boilers normally had 2 to 3 metres of asbestos rope at the top of the boiler. Debris was swept up. Conditions were dusty during the inspections such that the witnesses believed that Mr X would have breathed in asbestos dust and fibres.

When a fireplace and cooker backed on to each other, the fireplace contained asbestos rope and also an asbestos board. Demolition created a lot of dust. A building inspector such as Mr X would periodically check on progress and so would have breathed in asbestos debris.

Mr X was also exposed to asbestos through his job with Torfaen County Borough Council as a plasterer, renewing ceilings constructed from asbestos sheets, and when removing artex coatings. Asbestos materials were also found in down pipes, soil pipes, bath panels, heat boarding, soffits, fascias, tiles and garage roofs.

Mr X was exposed to asbestos when removing asbestos down pipes. He swept up the debris. He renewed asbestos water soffits and asbestos fascias.

No protection was provided by the Council.

The case

Supportive medical evidence was obtained and information relating to financial losses obtained. Court proceedings were issued and judgment was entered in due course. The claim settled for a significant sum in October 2016.

It has been a pleasure to assist Mr X’s widow to a successful outcome and give her some financial security for the future.