British Rail has paid £170,000 in compensation to the widow of a former Swindon railway worker who died from asbestos related cancer in May 2011.
Her husband worked for British Rail for 46 years at its Swindon works and for much of that period was continuously exposed to asbestos. As an apprentice boiler maker, his workmates used to roll up asbestos into a ball and use it as a makeshift football. They would also use asbestos to make ‘birthday cakes’ for colleagues as a joke.
The family’s solicitor, Brigitte Chandler, a leading industrial disease lawyer and partner with Swindon law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall and who has represented many hundreds of railway workers over the last 30 years, agreed an out of court settlement with British Rail to cover the loss of income for the man’s widow and expenses incurred during his illness and death.
Her client’s husband had worked in the AV Shop where they used to remove the asbestos plaster from automotive boilers. During the course of his employment he had to visit all the different shops in the works where steam pipes were coated with asbestos and asbestos sheets were cut up.
“There are still many people in Swindon who worked in the railway industry who are being affected by asbestos exposure,” she said. “On a more positive note, British Rail is now well aware of the problem and providing someone can show they worked there and were exposed to asbestos, many claims are now generally settled out of court.”
Anyone suffering from chest problems who has been exposed to asbestos should seek medical advice.
“Unfortunately the area where this man worked was notorious for using large quantities of asbestos and there have been other deaths from employees working in the same area, added Brigitte Chandler.
“Claims against British Rail for asbestos exposure have been running for over 30 years. In this case the asbestos fibres were latent for 70 years. Many people who thought they had left the railways behind them years ago are now developing breathing problems.”
The Swindon and South West Asbestos Group is a regional charity which provides support groups and a free advice service to people suffering from asbestos disease and their families.
They now offer home visits to sufferers in the Swindon area to advise on benefits available.
For further information contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793-511055 or email@example.com
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