Diagnosed with mesothelioma after working in a telephone exchange
Not many people think they could have been exposed to asbestos when working in a telephone exchange, but in the 1960s/70s this may have been likely. Read Peter Stelfox's story who was tragically diagnosed with mesothelioma.
10 March 2022
Not many people would think working in a telephone exchange was likely to bring them into contact with asbestos but in the 1960s and 1970s that was unfortunately the case.
Cables were brought into the main distribution frame and then to individual racks where they went from one equipment room to another via holes in the walls, ceilings or floors. Those holes were packed with bags of asbestos for fireproofing.
When telephone exchanges were extended, those bags were pulled out so that new cables could be passed through and sometimes those asbestos bags broke causing huge amounts of asbestos dust. The holes the cables passed through, after they'd been packed with bags of asbestos, had to be covered over by asbestos board which was cut up on site. This work was done at the same time as others were stitching cables to the framework, so there was often asbestos being cut or disturbed in the vicinity of others who did not handle it themselves.
We have just settled a claim for £200,000 in relation Mr Peter Stelfox, who tragically died from asbestos related mesothelioma. This was caused by his exposure to asbestos whilst employed by Associated Electrical Industries Limited as a tester of telephone exchange equipment and subsequently by Ericsson Limited as a telephone exchange designer.
Prior to his death, Mr Stelfox was able to provide some information about his work and we were also able to obtain supportive witness evidence from a communications union officer who had been a post office engineer for nearly 30 years.
His evidence was instrumental in obtaining a settlement for Peter's wife, Mrs Stelfox, even though he'd never met or known either of them. His knowledge about what went on in telephone exchanges and the use of asbestos in them, provided invaluable information and demonstrates the value of witness evidence in asbestos claims, particularly when the injured person has died and is no longer able to explain things to the Court .