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Asbestos death toll rises again
INQUESTS have heard how York’s asbestos timebomb has claimed the lives of another two former York Carriageworks employees.
York residents Peter Barnett and Raymond Kelly both contracted the asbestos-related disease malignant mesothelioma after being repeatedly exposed to the substance at the factory.
The York inquests were told that former British Rail manager Mr Barnett, who died aged 70 on December 2 last year, worked at the former Holgate Road site in the 1960s.
After suffering problems with his breathing in later life he went on to have an aortic valve replacement.
However, he was admitted to York Hospital on November 30 last year when he collapsed with worsening respiratory failure.
Mr Barnett, of Foxwood, received palliative care at the hospital until his death. A post-mortem examination found asbestos bodies on his lungs that were indicative of significant asbestos exposure.
A colleague had told solicitors Irwin Mitchell that Mr Barnett was one of many employees who would help spray asbestos on carriages and recalled many occasions when they drilled or scraped off the dust from machines and floors.
At no time were any workers advised to wear a mask or given protective clothing.
Mr Kelly died at home in Acomb in December last year, aged 69, after receiving palliative care.
He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the form of cancer most frequently caused by exposure to asbestos, in November 2010 after doctors investigated worsening chest pains and breathing problems. Scans revealed asbestos bodies on his lungs.
Mr Kelly had worked at the carriageworks in the 1970s.
Before he died, he told solicitors Irwin Mitchell how he had worked in a dusty environment in different parts of the factory with no protective clothing or face mask.
He also said in a statement that he was exposed to asbestos dust, which he recalled as a “a fine blue, grey haze”, on an “almost daily basis”.
York Coroner Donald Coverdale recorded verdicts that each man died of the industrial disease malignant mesothelioma.
More than 140 former York carriageworks employees and their relatives have now been killed by asbestos.