Bristol Water pays Somerset widow for husbands asbestos death

Following the death of her husband last year, Jean Bean has been awarded a £290, 000 payout from his former employer Bristol Water, after it was ruled they had failed to protect him from asbestos fibre inhalation.

Jean Bean, from Shepton Mallet, has been awarded a payout of £290, 000 from Bristol Water following the death of her husband David last year aged 73. David Bean had worked for the company as an engineer until 1992 and was provided with no protection when visiting pumping stations which housed boilers covered in asbestos cement lagging. It was reported that the boilers of varying sizes were sometimes a big as houses.

The court heard that at the time of Mr. Bean’s employment no protective clothing or masks were provided. A spokesman for Bristol Water said: “It is with regret that Mr. Bean, a retired former employee of Bristol Water and its predecessors, who started work with the business in the 1950s has passed away as a consequence of mesothelioma”. They stated that “stringent safety measures” had now been introduced for staff working with asbestos.

Asbestos cement lagging has been categorised one of the most dangerous materials containing asbestos. You are more at risk from breathing in asbestos fibres because disturbance of the lagging or insulation releases fibres very easily in to the air that you breathe. Malignant mesothelioma is a form of cancer which affects the thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen. About 2,400 people are diagnosed with the condition in theUKeach year. According to Cancer ResearchUK, up to 80% of cases of malignant mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

As an employer you are required by law to ensure that your employees are trained in asbestos awareness if contact with asbestos is probable and you must provide the necessary equipment to protect employees from inhalation of asbestos fibres. In addition, you are required to manage the asbestos in any building your employees are required to work. Recently more and more people are becoming asbestos aware, such as Bristol Water who stated that “In modern times, stringent safety measures have been introduced to avoid the risk of hazardous substances such as asbestos being disturbed and inhaled by employees.”

Published May 10, 2012
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