Asbestos is the official cause of death for a former dock worker who was exposed to the substance in the 1960s. This tragedy highlights both the long reach of asbestos, and the frequent rate of asbestos-caused death and disease in shipbuilding and similar industries.
John Fenwick, 73, died in hospice on February 4, and his passing was the result of his career as pipefitter, according to the United Kingdom-based Daily Echo. The coroner said given Fenwick’s asbestos exposure, he had no hesitation in recording a verdict of death due to industrial disease.
As this page notes, shipyard work was highly hazardous, given the heavy presence of asbestos along the docks. Because of its resistance to heat and flame, asbestos was heavily used throughout ships prior to the 1970s. It also offered resistance to electrical and chemical damage and sound absorption. In fact, some of the larger ships of the period each contained possibly more than 1,000 tons of asbestos, distributed throughout the vessels.
The most common product encountered by shipyard workers and shipbuilders was the asbestos-containing insulation that wrapped hot water, steam, and fuel pipes. When workers cut these pipes, microscopic asbestos fibers were released into the air, where they were easily inhaled. This caused diseases such as asbestosis, and cancers of the lungs and other organs, including mesothelioma.
Many asbestos exposures and their resulting deaths were preventable. All that was needed was a shipyard workforce with the proper knowledge, training and safety equipment.
Were you diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition? Were you exposed to asbestos at a jobsite? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.