Widow of former Wolverton rail man wins damages after husband’s death from asbestos

Asbestos exposure can lead to potentially fatal health complications
Asbestos exposure can lead to potentially fatal health complications

A widow has received undisclosed damages after her husband’s death as a result of asbestos exposure during his 36 year career with British Rail.

Graham Hutchings died in 2012, aged 68 - 17 years after he retired from British Rail where he worked latterly as a building services manager for the western region.

The family’s solicitor, Brigitte Chandler of Swindon law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall and one of the UK’s leading experts in asbestos litigation, said Mr Hutchings was continually exposed to asbestos throughout his time at British Rail.

“Mr Hutchings started as an apprentice in 1959 in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire and worked in areas where asbestos was sprayed or used to cover steam pipes,” Brigitte Chandler said.

“He said it was common for people to pick up asbestos lagging from the floor and make balls with it which they threw around.

“He also worked in York, Derby and Marylebone as well as the Swindon area for British Rail where he was a senior manager.

“In all the regions he worked for British Rail he was never given any protective clothing or warnings of the dangers of asbestos.

“In the 1990s he had to go to Sudbrook Pumping Station, Cardiff where asbestos was openly thrown in trenches outside the pumping stations.”

After he retired Mr Hutchings and his wife lived in Royal Wootton Basset. He started having health problems in November 2011 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

The Department of Transport, which has taken over British Rail, is aware of the legacy left by asbestos which was widely used in the railway industry for several decades. They will usually consider making a settlement once a diagnosis is confirmed and the claimant can prove he worked for British Rail.