Asbestos blamed for merchant employee death

Published:  06 August, 2009


YORK: A former employee of a builders' merchant was killed by microscopic particles of asbestos, an inquest heard.



James Peacock died on July 2 of last year of mesothelioma.

York coroner, Donald Coverdale heard Mr Peacock, began work in 1968 for a builders' merchants in Northallerton called Henry Foster Building Products, later Ferguson Industrial Holdings.Mr Peacock said in a statement written in hospital before his death: "We used to take delivery of asbestos sheets measuring 8ft by 4ft. We usually had to get into the back of the truck to move the sheets. They were quite heavy and usually two of us would move them, but there was always quite a lot of dust."

Peacock said he recalled his overalls getting covered in asbestos dust and then taking them home to be washed.

A post-mortem examination found Peacock had 25000 mineral fibres per gram of lung tissue and while this was a relatively low result, it was enough to provide a link to mesothelioma considering the work Mr Peacock had done, the coroner said.

Jennifer McNally, Mr Peacock's daughter, plans to lodge a claim against the insurers of Ferguson Industrial Holdings, which ceased trading some years ago. 

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