'Constant' exposure to asbestos blamed for death of ex-electrician John Williamson
A RETIRED electrician died after being exposed to asbestos, an inquest heard.
John Williamson, known as Stan, worked at a Derby carriage works for 40 years and regularly came into contact with the deadly dust.
An inquest into his death heard how he died on October 5 last year, aged 80, from malignant mesothelioma of the peritoneal – a type of cancer which surrounds the abdominal cavity.
Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court heard how Mr Williamson, of Highfield Way, Ripley, worked at LMS Wagon and Carriage Works, later known as British Rail, from 1946 until 1986. After completing an electrician apprenticeship, he served two years of National Service in the RAF.
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He then worked as a qualified electrician and worked at a number of the shops run by LMS including the T1 shop and G43 shop. The inquest heard that it was during this time that he was responsible for "cutting, bending, sawing and fitting conduits", carriage wiring and stripping the carriages for repair.
Mr Williamson's son, David Williamson, in a statement read to the inquest, said: "In those days, asbestos was all over the carriages."
He said his father was expected to launder his own overalls.
"These would have been covered in asbestos, which would have caused him exposure."
A statement from Harold Hollingworth, a coach furnisher at British Rail, was also read out at the inquest.
He said blue asbestos was sprayed on to the bed of the carriages, which were then taken to the workplace where Mr Williamson would have worked. He said: "Asbestos would fly into our faces and in our hair and all over our clothes. We would all be constantly exposed to the dust from the blue asbestos."
He added that there was no ventilation or extraction in the premises.
Deputy coroner Paul McCandless returned a verdict of death due to industrial disease. He said that Mr Williamson both worked directly with asbestos on occasions and also in circumstances where he would have disturbed the deadly dust.
The number of deaths caused by asbestos-related illnesses like lung cancer mesothelioma are rising year-on-year and are not predicted to peak until 2020.
Between 2005 and 2011, the number dealt with at inquest by Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court rose from 34 to 48.