WE Solicitors have successfully represented yet another former employee of the General Post Office which later became British Telecom. Mr H had been employed by the GPO from the 1960’s through until the 1990’s. He had worked in a number of roles including what at that time was called the PBX. This department went into business premises to plan and install telephone exchanges. Mr H was not an engineer but worked in the planning department. This meant he was required to go into buildings to carry out inspections and was constantly monitoring installations until completion. Asbestos was widely used in basements and boiler rooms throughout the period he worked in this department and he was also observing the risers in these buildings where both cables and pipework would be housed, often insulated with asbestos.
As with most cases against BT, the asbestos exposure was not obvious to our client at first. He had spent the vast majority of his working life in an office at a desk. He worked in the PBX department for
a small period of time in comparison with his overall employment and so when diagnosed with a termin- al asbestos related illness, Mr H was unsure as to how he had been exposed to asbestos. This is a very common situation as many BT workers who were not engineers may not be aware were exposed to asbestos until they are carefully questioned.
Having dealt with a number of similar claims, BT are well aware that asbestos was widely used in the industry throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, from the cabling in the telephone exchanges to the very fab- ric of the buildings in which they were installed. We understand BT set up a register for staff in the 1980’s to record their asbestos exposure which, we believe, was to allow them to monitor their potential liability for asbestos related illnesses.
To date, WE Solicitors have successfully represented, surveyors, exchange engineers and telegraphers with mesothelioma compensation claims following diagnosis. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused through inhalation of relatively small amounts of asbestos fibres. In each of these cases the claimants have been compensation by BT with hundreds of thousands of pounds. Whilst this does not in any way compensation for the premature loss of a loved one, it does provide some financial security to those left behind.
Unfortunately, there are likely to be many more instances of asbestos illness amongst former employees of BT due to the very nature of the working conditions.
At the conclusion of the action Mr H’s daughter emailed us to say “Thank you to Steven [Evans] for his kindness, patience, efficiency and professionalism throughout this process. I didn’t think my dad would cope well with the requirements but Steven’s calm nature and knowledge made a fairly grim situation much easier to bear. We contacted other solicitors at the start of this process, and their hard-sell ap- proach was dreadful – thank goodness for you and your team!“
If you or anyone you know have worked at BT or elsewhere and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness please contact us on 0800 294 3065 to seek advice. We can guide you step by step through the claims process.