A Wiltshire, England woman has won her claim against British Rail Engineering and will be receiving 64,000 British pounds in compensation for the loss of her father, a railway worker who was exposed to asbestos on the job.
Kenneth Crayford worked for the railway company for 44 years as a builder and mechanic. During that time, he was exposed to asbestos used as insulation on the boilers, pipes and cylinders of locomotives. His coworkers have said that asbestos dust fell as a result of the vibrations of large cranes on the worksite.
Asbestos, a mineral which has been widely used in insulation and building materials. It is strong, flexible, and extremely resistant to heat, fire, electricity, corrosion, and other biological and chemical processes. Its fibers are released into the air when the mineral is mined or processed, and once airborne, they are easily inhaled. They then become lodged in the soft tissues such as lungs and other organs, and especially the mesothelium, which surrounds and protects the lungs, heart and stomach. There is no way to remove the microscopic fibers once they are inhaled.
In 2006, Crayford was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer affecting the mesothelium which, once diagnosed, grows aggressively and is difficult to treat. Since mesothelioma has such a long latency period, it may take anywhere from 10 to 50 years for the disease to manifest symptoms. It is considered to be incurable, although radiation, chemotherapy and surgery can all be used, often in combination, in order to provide palliative care to the patient.
Crayford died at age 79, just a few months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Crayford’s daughter, Rachel, made a claim against British Rail Engineering approximately 18 months after his death. She will receive 64,000 pounds, which is approximately $128,000 USD.
According to his daughter, Crayford was aware that he was being exposed to asbestos. Some of his colleagues had also contracted mesothelioma. Cases have been brought against British Rail for over 30 years, and it’s expected that there will be more as the the disease is diagnosed in more former railway workers.