In some of the stories that our asbestos removal contractors see in the news detailing tragic victims of exposure to the famously lethal substance, there is shocking information about just how short a time period the sufferer spent in contact with the fibres that ultimately killed them.
Such has been the case with another article we have seen in the news lately – that concerning Michael Davies, a resident of the South Staffordshire village of Pattingham, who died on 18th September this year.
A verdict of industrial disease
As reported by the Express & Star, Michael Davies had assisted with the removal of roofing material containing the substance in 1978. According to an inquest, the cause of the 60-year-old former social care manager’s death was mesothelioma, the cancer that is heavily associated with asbestos exposure.
Officer Andrew Heathcote read out a statement from Mr Davies’ family at Cannock Coroners Court.
He said: “After graduating in 1978 in Swansea, Mr Davies had no permanent employment and it appears he survived by doing odd jobs. He remembered his friend Tony returning from the Job Centre to say there was a job clearing asbestos in a factory in Swansea.
“He thought the opportunity was too good to turn down and signed up. But after just two days dismantling roofs, he gave it up.”
Mr Davies reported this asbestos exposure in July this year. However, as Mr Heathcote outlined: “The initial exposure happens decades before symptoms start to show.”
“A relatively young age to die”
Mr Andrew Haigh, South Staffordshire Coroner, said: “I have been told Michael was only 60 when he died, which is a relatively young age to die. He was an active man, had a responsible job in social services and was part of the community in Pattingham.”
The coroner added that Mr Davies had spent “a couple of days” removing asbestos in a job following his graduation in Swansea in the late 1970s.
“There is no doubt that Mr Davies died as a result of mesothelioma and no doubt that this was a result from exposure to asbestos.”
He said that while there was less certainty about when the exposure occurred, Mr Davies’ time working in Swansea was the only instance of contact with asbestos of which he had been told.
“Therefore, on the balance of probabilities, I conclude Mr Davies died of industrial disease.”
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