Somerset widow gets Bristol Water asbestos death payout

A Somerset woman is to get £290,000 in compensation from Bristol Water following her husband's death from cancer caused by his contact with asbestos.

David Bean, from Shepton Mallet, had worked for the company as an engineer.

He had no protection when visiting pumping stations housing boilers covered with asbestos cement lagging.

Bristol Water said "stringent safety measures" had now been introduced for staff working with asbestos.

The solicitor for his wife Jean said the money would compensate her for loss of income resulting from his death last year at the age of 73.

'No protective mask'

Solicitor Brigitte Chandler said: "Mr Bean visited pumping stations all over the western area.

"They contained large boilers, often the size of houses, which were covered with asbestos cement lagging.

"Mr Bean would have been in contact with the asbestos as he walked around the pumping station.

"He was never given protective masks or clothing and continued to be exposed to asbestos until he left the company in 1992.

"Mr Bean was healthy until September 2010 when he developed chest pains, coughing and breathlessness. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma."

'Disturbed and inhaled'

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 the UK each year.

According to Cancer Research UK, up to 80% of cases of malignant mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

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.

"Bristol Water's insurers have made a compensation payment as a result of Mr Bean's historic exposure from asbestos disturbed whilst carrying out his duties.

"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."

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