A former BT Building Contract Manager has died shortly after commencing an action for BT engineer mesothelioma compensation against his former employers.
Derek Butler (74) was diagnosed with 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 ruled Mr Butler had died as a result of malignant mesothelioma.
The court was also read a statement Derek prepared prior to his death in which the deceased explained that he had worked for British telecommunications from 1967 and, in 1980, had been promoted to the position of Building Contract Manager. His new role included preparaing 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 on-site supervision. While on-site – the statement continued – 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 started a compensation claim for BT engineer mesothelioma cancer 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.”