Archive for January, 2012

Man Dies after Starting BT Engineer Mesothelioma Work Claims Action

Posted on: January 24th, 2012

A former BT Building Contract Manager has died shortly after commencing BT engineer mesothelioma work claims action against his former employers.

Derek Butler (74) from Weston in Somerset was found to be suffering from mesothelioma cancer earlier this year – an industrial disease caused by exposure to asbestos. At the inquest into his death, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing heard from consultant physician Dr Justin Pepperell, who confirmed Mr Butler had died as a result of the illness malignant mesothelioma.

The court was also read a statement prepared by Derek prior to his death in which he (Derek) explained that he had worked for British telecommunications from 1967 and, in 1980, had been promoted to the position of Building Contract Manager. The new role included the preparation and remodelling of buildings which were transferring from mechanical to electrical telephone systems.

Although Derek´s major responsibility was in the planning of the remodelling, his work involved an element of on-site supervision. While on-site Derek was exposed to cables coated in asbestos and, despite the presence of plastic sheets, a significant volume of dust fibres were released into the atmosphere because of the scale of the project. This continued until Derek´s retirement in 1996.

The inquest was also told that Derek had commenced a BT engineer mesothelioma work claims action after his condition had been attributed to his exposure to asbestos while working for BT and, summing up the hearing, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said: “Mr Butler did not work directly with asbestos but when working with BT and working with buildings which were remodelled it was likely he was exposed to asbestos during that work. I accept the medical cause of death as being one due to industrial disease.”

BT Employee´s Hearing Injury Claim Heard at Cardiff County Court

Posted on: January 18th, 2012

A former BT employee´s hearing injury claim has been heard at Cardiff County Court after BT disputed whether their former engineer should be entitled to a private hearing aid.

The claimant, identified only as Mr Dew, had been employed by BT from 1981 until 2010 as an engineer and jointer, and alleged in his compensation claim for BT employee´s hearing injury that his need to wear a hearing aid had been brought forward by fifteen years due to being exposed to high-pitched tones while testing, tracing and installing BT telephone lines during his thirty years with the company.

The former BT employee explained to Cardiff County Court that he had been using an NHS issued hearing aid since December 2009 but found that it screeched whenever he placed his hand close to his ear. As it was necessary from time to time to manually change the settings on the hearing aid, the high-pitched screech happened often and caused him discomfort and embarrassment.

Testimony given on behalf of the claimant by a hearing expert informed the court that former BT employee would be able to avoid his hearing aid problems if he were supplied with a privately purchased hearing aid with Bluetooth technology which cost 2,395 pounds and had a life expectancy of five years. BT disputed this claim based on historical evidence of previous BT employee´s hearing injury claims the company has faced.

In August 2010 – in Watkins v British Telecommunications – BT had admitted that the green and unmodified yellow testing sets previously supplied to telephone engineers presented a risk of injury and was a breach in their duty of care. This admission led to many haring injury compensation claims by former BT employees.

However, whereas subsequent BT employee´s hearing injury compensation claims were settled out of court, BT argued that the claimant in this case did not qualify for a privately purchased hearing aid as an NHS supplied hearing aid should be adequate for his hearing injury.

The judge at Cardiff County Court ruled that the sum claimed by the former BT employee for his hearing injury was appropriate in the circumstances and – allowing for inflation, warranty charges, service fees and batteries – included 11,422 pounds special damages in the claimant´s settlement for BT employee hearing injury of 19,372 pounds.