Cumbrian man died as result of exposure to asbestos fibres

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Cumbrian man died as result of exposure to asbestos fibres

Last updated at 14:14, Monday, 16 May 2011

A man who was exposed to asbestos while working in shipyards and the Merchant Navy died of industrial disease, a coroner has concluded.

Leslie James Clingan, of George Street, Whitehaven, died at home on May 21 last year at the age of 72.

An inquest heard that he died of malignant mesothelioma (cancer of the pleura, which is the covering of the lungs) as a result of exposure to the deadly asbestos fibres. He was diagnosed in 2006.

An underlying problem which would have contributed to, but not caused his death, was heart disease, added David Roberts, coroner for north and west Cumbria.

Mr Clingan worked for Swan Hunter, in Newcastle, in the 1950s. He served an apprenticeship in marine engineering where he worked in confined spaces alongside other tradesmen.

He was not required to handle asbestos but worked in close proximity to the laggers who did work with the substance.

In a statement from the late Mr Clingan he said they wore overalls but there were no shower facilities or protection masks.

For about 10 years he then worked as a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy where most of his time was spent in the engine room. He was required to carry out repairs, about once a month, which involved removing and then replacing asbestos lagging.

The coroner said that in those days the dangers of asbestos were not known and that no precautions were taken.

Mr Clingan, who was born in Newcastle, is survived by his wife Elizabeth, a former primary school teacher, and three children.

Later in life he worked for a number of other companies, including at Sellafield, from where he retired as a fitter at the age of 60.

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