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Settlement secured for widow of former British Rail worker following asbestos-related death

The widow of a former British Rail worker has secured a settlement following the death of her husband from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.

Posted on 06 August 2020

The man, who we have called Lewis, worked for British Rail from 1957 to 1997 as a cleaner, fireman and then as a passenger guard. He was exposed to asbestos while working as a cleaner and fireman at Faversham station and other stations in Kent.
During his employment for British Rail, Lewis had a number of roles. Initially he was employed as a cleaner on the steam engines housed near Faversham station. His job involved scraping off dust, oiling, and generally cleaning the steam engines. There were also fitters based at the station who repaired parts of the steam engines. They did this while working close beside Lewis. The workers would fix engine pipes, but they would have to remove asbestos lagging in order to get to the pipes, which created a lot of dust.
Lewis also unloaded new fire blocks and brake blocks with his bare hands. The new blocks were dusty and Lewis believed it was asbestos dust. Throughout this period, Lewis said he was not provided with any protective equipment.
In June 2019, Lewis was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, the main cause of which is asbestos exposure. Lewis subsequently died in January 2020 aged 78.
The Department for Transport admitted liability and a settlement was secured in Lewis’ lifetime.
Claire Spearpoint, asbestos claims solicitor at Leigh Day, said:

“Although this settlement does not make up for the fact that Lewis lost his life to the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, we are pleased that we have been able to secure a settlement to provide support to Lewis’ widow.”