Man, 74, died after asbestos exposure

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 August 2012


A RETIRED Weston draftsman died from exposure to asbestos which he encountered during his work for BT, a coroner court heard last week.

Derek Butler, of Ebdon Road, was in the process of making a claim for his condition when he died at the age of 74.

Mr Butler died of terminal cancer at Weston Hospicecare and a post-mortem concluded that the final cause of death was mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

At the inquest at Flax Bourton, the court heard statement prepared by Mr Butler before his death.

The statement said: “In 1967 I gained a position at an office for the telephone company BT. My role was drawing up routes to the underground cable network.

“In 1980 I was promoted to building contract manager and my team made specifications for remodelling buildings, as the telephone network was being transferred from mechanical to electrical.

“My responsibility was the planning and I was involved in on-site supervision. The cables used had a coating covered in asbestos. This was a massive job and when remodelling lots of dust fibres were disturbed. There were large sheets of plastic around but they were not protecting people on the site.

“This was going on until my retirement in 1996.”

The court heard from consultant physician Dr Justin Pepperell who confirmed Mr Butler had died as a result of malignant mesothelioma.

He said: “This was likely to be due to exposure to asbestos. BT attributed to the asbestos role in his disease.”

Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said: “Mr Butler did not work directly with asbestos but when working with BT and working with buildings which were remodelled it was likely he was exposed to asbestos during that work. I accept the medical cause of death as being one due to industrial disease.”

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