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Grandfather’s payout in BT asbestos claim

A RETIRED telecommunications engineer has been awarded a payout after contracting a deadly asbestos-related disease during a long working career in Torbay.

Grandfather Frederick Vincent, 76, from Torquay, has been given a five-figure sum by a judge sitting at the High Court in Bristol.

A judgement was made against Mr Vincent’s former employers, British Telecommunications Plc, for its part in allegedly negligently exposing its employee to asbestos dust.

Mr Vincent worked for the company for 30 years and was regularly exposed to the lethal fibres.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on his 50th wedding anniversary to wife Jean earlier this year.

He says he will use the money, an interim payment pending a final settlement, to improve his healthcare for the time he has left and make provisions for his family.

Mr Vincent started as a telegram boy for the Post Office in Torquay when he was 15 and then for BT as an installation engineer between 1962 to 1989 where he regularly came into contact with asbestos.

He said: “As an installation engineer, I spent a lot of time in the telephone exchanges in the Devon area where a lot of asbestos was used for fire insulation purposes.

“I had to drill through a lot of asbestos insulation board to get to the telephone wires. I worked near a lot of asbestos-lagged pipe work.”

Between 1959 and 1962 Mr Vincent was exposed to more asbestos while working for a major employer in Paignton, Standard Telephones and Cables.

Now, he and his family, including five grandchildren, are all trying to come to terms with the news that he has an aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

He said: “I have not had any chemotherapy as this is not a cure and I am worried about the side effects.

“I am trying to enjoy some quality time with my family, but I’m very aware this will now be cut short.

“The interim payment I have received will go towards private nursing care and any equipment that I will need as my illness progresses and we may need a car so that Jean can drive me to my medical appointments.”

Specialist industrial disease lawyer, Helen Grady, of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who represented Mr Vincent, said: “Even in the 1960s and 1970s employers knew of the risks associated with asbestos and the dangers of inhaling lethal fibres.

“Mr Vincent’s case is continuing but he is secure in the knowledge that he will receive a financial settlement which will at least ensure that he will be able to purchase the care and equipment which he may need due to his illness and he has the comfort of knowing that his wife will be financially secure going forward.”

A spokesman for BT said: “BT takes its health and safety responsibility very seriously and we have extensive policies in place to protect our employees from asbestos related hazards.

“Mr Vincent’s claim related to alleged exposure many years ago. As the case is ongoing we cannot comment any further.”

Source: This is South Devon
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December 5, 2011 10:00 am - Posted by Asbestos News

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