Published: October 11, 2019
A PENSIONER who probably came into contact with asbestos during his working life died as a result of an industrial disease, an inquest heard.
William Wall, 79, of Park Avenue, Askam, died at Furness General Hospital in February of this year.
Between 1955 and 1961, he worked as an apprentice electrician at Vickers shipyard in his birthplace of Barrow.
Later jobs included 14 years at an oil refinery in Libya, where he met wife Diena. They married in 1981.
Mr Wall, who was described as a 'conscientious, helpful' man, eventually retired from work in 2016.
The inquest heard he enjoyed good health for much of his life, but his condition deteriorated rapidly in early 2019, resulting in an admission to hospital with respiratory difficulties
A post-mortem arrived at the conclusion that his death, which occurred on February 21, was due to 'acute lung injury' and 'asbestosis'.
Samples taken from his lungs revealed a 'heavy concentration of asbestos fibres'.
Mr Wall’s son Philip said his father may well have come into contact with asbestos while working at Vickers shipyard.
“He did say quite a few times that people in those days used to play football with it [asbestos].They used to ball it up,” he said.
“It seems crazy now.”
Another one of Mr Wall’s son’s Jefferson added: “It was my understanding as well that all the electrical cables were wrapped in an asbestos covering.”
The inquest was told Mr Wall’s roles after his time at the shipyard were generally management-based, so it was perhaps less likely he came into direct contact with asbestos, although discussions between Mr Wall and family members on the subject were 'limited'.
Concluding, assistant coroner Paul O’Donnell told the inquest, held at Barrow Town Hall, that 'on the balance of probabilities' it seemed likely Mr Wall came into contact with asbestos during the 1950s.
He added there was a lack of evidence regarding whether or not he came into contact with the material after this time.
He concluded: “Bill died as a result of an industrial disease.” source