A man from Matson, Gloucestershire has won a case to continually sue the department of transport if and when his health deteriorates after being exposed to asbestos at work 70 years ago.
Asbestos is the greatest cause of work related disease in the UK. Harold White worked for the railway firm British Rail, between 1942 and 1949. His role involved cycling around the Swindon works delivering post to different shops. The industrial area contained extensive amounts of asbestos which Mr White was exposed to.
Mr White has now received £50.000 in compensation for damages from his former employer British Rail where he worked for 7 years, in which time he contracted asbestosis through the exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibres.
Mr White also started an apprenticeship at age 15 where he worked on locomotives, he stated that asbestos was largely at use in this area too. Asbestos was largely used for heat resistance and asbestos bandage covered pipes and boilers to stop people burning themselves.
It can take years between exposure and diagnosis or for symptoms to develop. In 2012 Mr White began to develop symptoms linked to asbestos related disease such as breathlessness, which he was told was because of his exposure to asbestos during his time at British Rail. This case shows how long it can take for the illness to develop.
Mr Whites solicitor who won the charges for him said it was important for people with asbestosis to be able to return to court for the right to seek legal redress to claim further damages if symptoms worsen or should he develop cancer or any other illnesses.
It is always advised to seek medical attention if you have symptoms and have been exposed to asbestos in the past.
Today, as duty holders, Mr Whites employers should have taken out an asbestos management survey to locate the asbestos and ensure that it was not of any risk to any employees however the risks were less well known during his exposure and the regulations were not strict as they are today.
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Published Feb 04, 2015