The death of a train driver has been attributed to him being exposed to asbestos, once again emphasising the deadly nature of the dangerous material.
Alfred Bryant, 76, died last month after being diagnosed with mesothelioma just a few months earlier, reports the Hemel Gazette. He had been involved with trains for many years, first starting out as a train cleaner before moving on to the roles of stoker and then driver.
It seems his great passion was also the cause of his death, as the hearing into his passing was told by Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas that he would often touch pieces of asbestos while cleaning. Some of the train carriages he came into contact with were insulated with the material and the rattling of older locomotives led to some of this becoming loose.
"I'm satisfied that for a substantial period of his working life he was exposed to asbestos. His symptoms and the dates of his exposure to asbestos are very consistent to the development of mesothelioma," Mr Thomas explained.
According to the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) official figures, asbestos remains the most common cause of work-related deaths in the UK. As such, it goes without saying that firms must do all they can to protect staff from it and help them avoid any exposure.
Mr Bryant suffered a number of consequences of being exposed to asbestos before he passed away in December. For instance, the side effects of mesothelioma include a shortness of breath and chest pain, both of which he was known to experience in his final months.
If Mr Thomas is correct, such a case may show exactly what can occur when people are exposed to asbestos over a prolonged period of time.
With this in mind, taking all available steps - including investing in the very best respiratory equipment - can be a wise move by companies looking to protect the safety of their staff and avoid potential punishments.