Asbestos dust caused death of Electrician’s wife

Last Updated on 18th September 2019 by Kirsty Smithson

Man suing Vauxhall over asbestos dust

A man who worked as an electrician has said his wife died as a result of asbestos dust.

John Carey says he would come home with asbestos dust on his coveralls and in his hair, sideburns and moustache.

The asbestos dust was breathed in by Lydia over a 3 year period as they hugged and kissed when he came home from work over 40 years ago.

Lydia Carey died on the 27th November 2018 aged just 60 form asbestos related lung cancer.

Now her husband, John, is suing Vauxhall Motors who he worked for as an electrician at their Dunstable and Luton sites from 1973-1979 for £1m.

Mr Carey’s Barrister explained to the court, “As well as the asbestos on his clothes, Mr Carey had a full head of hair, a moustache and sideburns in which asbestos dust would be trapped until liberated by movement from – say – a hug.”

Asbestos dust led to death of Lydia Carey, pictured.
Asbestos dust led to death of Lydia Carey, pictured.  Photo credit – Nev Ayling

Vauxhall Motors are denying Mr Carey was exposed to hazardous asbestos whilst working for them and are fighting against his claim.

The court heard how Mr Carey’s work clothes would be covered in thick black dust, which Mrs Carey would clean for him, by firstly brushing off the asbestos dust before putting into the washing machine.

Vauxhall factory contained huge amounts of asbestos dust

Vauxhall’s Dunstable plant was where Mr Carey carried out most of his work.

His Barrister claimed there were huge amounts of asbestos contained within the factory.

He and his colleagues at the plant would be responsible for removing or applying asbestos lagging to pipes.

John would often see workers mixing asbestos powder to paste.

He recalled having to walk through, kneel down in or even lie on asbestos dust and debris which was on the floor in order to be able to carry out his work.

When any job was completed, he would have to clean up afterwards and sweep asbestos dust and debris from the floor using a dustpan and brush and wearing no face mask for protection.

He insists that Vauxhall should have provided himself and other workers with personal protective equipment and warned against the risks associated with asbestos.

Again he insists that asbestos dust breathed in over a three year period between 1976 and 1979 by his wife Lydia was enough to cause her death 40 years later.

Vauxhall deny they are responsible

Vauxhall’s defence team argued against this theory, saying there would have been other ways Mrs Carey was exposed to asbestos.

They say that any exposure from when Mr Carey worked for them would have been minimal and unlikely to cause future illness.

Defense lawyers say she could have been exposed to asbestos dust at other times during her husband’s career, or even by contact with her father who was known to have worked with asbestos during her childhood.

Husband devastated at loss of his wife

Mr Carey has spoken of his devastation following his wife’s death in November.

He says it was a huge shock as her cancer diagnosis came out of the blue in October 2017.

Speaking about his beloved wife, he added, “She was my world, she meant everything to me. She was a lovely lady, very bubbly.”

“We have four grandchildren and she was so much looking forward to seeing them grow up. She had everything to go on for.”

Sadly, the couple had not long celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. 

Source of article:-

Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their properties, carrying out an asbestos survey in their building so as not to put employees at risk.

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Published Dec 17, 2018

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