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Doncaster railway worker dies from asbestosis

Douglas Wattam died after suffering debilitating breathlessness for the last 13 years of his life.
A post-mortem examination showed that his illness, which had resulted in the need for nursing care, had been caused by asbestosis.
Mr Wattam started with British Rail in 1966 and worked as a coach builder where blue asbestos (Crocidolite) was sprayed on the inside of the carriages to act as an insulator.
Asbestos floated in the air and would have been inhaled by unsuspecting workers who had been given no protective clothing or warnings about the dangers of what is today seen as the most dangerous type of asbestos.
In an out of court settlement, the Department of Transport, who are responsible for British Rail, paid out £70,000 to Mr Wattam’s family as compensation for his pain and suffering.
Diane Parker, a specialist industrial disease lawyer with Atherton Godfrey, said: “Asbestosis can take anything up to 50 years to develop, so someone suffering chest pains or breathing difficulties now would not always connect the problem to a job they did many years ago.
“Anyone who worked with asbestos in the railways, or indeed any other industry, and who has since developed breathing difficulties or chest pain, should get medical advice.
“If asbestosis or some other related disease is diagnosed, we can help trace which employer was responsible for the asbestos exposure.”

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