A RETIRED construction manager from York was exposed to asbestos “routinely and regularly”, an inquest has heard.

Alan Sidney Dickinson, 75, of Clifton Green, died last April, having developed symptoms of mesothelioma the year before. His health had worsened in the months before his death after he worked with or near asbestos every day while he was employed in the building industry.

An inquest into York-born Mr Dickinson’s death heard he served an apprenticeship as a plumber before doing his National Service, after which he returned to the city. His plumbing trade saw him work for various local firms, including Vickers Instruments and Rowntree Mackintosh, now Nestlé.

Between 1968 and 1974, he worked for Shepherds Engineering Services, based in Skeldergate, and managed a large contract for building insulated units for blocks of flats across Yorkshire.

This involved cutting and fitting asbestos sheets for insulation and fire prevention, meaning he was exposed to asbestos daily.

York Coroner’s Court was told Mr Dickinson’s desk was covered in a film of asbestos dust every day while he worked for the firm. After leaving, he moved on to managerial work at City of York Council for the rest of his career.

The mesothelioma symptoms were first spotted in spring 2011 and Mr Dickinson underwent treatment, but his condition deteriorated and he passed away on April 27 last year. The inquest recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.

Howard Bonnett of Corries Solicitors, which represents the families of those who have died after asbestos exposure, including Mr Dickinson, said: “This is yet another sad case of a man from the construction industry who worked in an asbestos-contaminated environment.

“Even in his managerial role, he was regularly overseeing men handling and cutting asbestos. Little did he know this would cause his death 40 years later.”

Mr Bonnett said the evidence in Mr Dickinson’s case showed people working in managerial roles “are not immune from developing asbestos disease and malignancy in later life”.

He said mesothelioma causes more than 2,500 deaths every year, with many of its victims having worked in the construction industry.