A GRIEVING widow has accused her husband’s former employer of sending him to his death by exposing him to deadly asbestos.
Patsy Grant, 53, from Pitsea, spoke out after being awarded substantial damages over the death of her husband, George, from a rare asbestos-related cancer.
Father-of-three Mr Grant, 57, worked for six years in the Eighties on the maintenance of asbestos-clad pipes for Bridge Iron Works (Engineering) Ltd, whose head office was in Hayes, Middlesex.
He was never issued with protective equipment to stop him breathing in asbestos, or warned about the dangers of it.
Mr Grant died of an aggressive type of mesothelioma in November, after contact with the toxic substance between 1981 and 1987 in Westminster, London.
Speaking after the family won its case, Mrs Grant, who was married for 34 years, said: “That company has robbed me of my soulmate.
“I shouldn’t be burying my husband when I’m 52. It’s so sad, but it was so preventable.
“Back then, they knew about asbestos. That’s what makes me so angry. Despite the dangers, his employers sent him to his death.
“He used to beg for extra shifts to help pay the mortgage – it was when interest rates were at 15 per cent and we needed the extra money. So he’d do extra shifts on Saturdays, which is when he came into contact with the asbestos.
“You expect the bosses to do the basics to make sure staff are safe. George knew the conditions were dirty but he didn’t realise he was working with asbestos. He wasn’t given breathing equipment, or warned about the dangers of working on that site.”
Mr Grant first developed a cough and experienced sharp pains in his chest just before Christmas 2012.
A biopsy in March 2013 confirmed he had sarcomatiod mesotheliomam which is found in fewer than a quarter of asbestos-related cases.
Mrs Grant said: “He was in absolute agony, from the moment he had a biopsy on the tumour, until he died.”
Mrs Grant said she hoped her husband’s case would be a warning to employers never to be complacent about the risks of working with asbestos.
She added: “I’d hate for another family to go through what we’ve been through.
“Asbestos hasn’t gone away.
It’s still in a lot of buildings and I just hope no one underestimates just how dangerous even a little amount can be to work with.”
The family’s lawyer, Edmund Young, of Slater and Gordon, said the family had decided not to disclose the amount of damages awarded.
He added: “These were appalling conditions, but companies should know there isn’t a time limit on justice and families can take action long after the exposure.”
The Echo was unable to contact anyone from Bridge Iron Works to comment on the case.