The diaries of a former electrical engineer at the Houses of Parliament who died from asbestos-related cancer revealed his concerns about safety in the building, according to lawyers.
Frederick Hodge, who supervised maintenance of boilers and pipes in the Palace of Westminster during the 1970s and early 1980s, died in August from mesothelioma, aged 80.
Concerns raised that other staff members could be affected
Lawyers say a series of other cases have begun to emerge involving former employees said to be suffering from exposure to the toxic dust.
Generations of people who worked in Parliament, including MPs, peers and civil servants, may have been affected by asbestos.
MPs are preparing to vote on whether to move Parliament out of its historic home for up to six years for major renovations, including removing asbestos.
Diary found by victim’s sons
Mr Hodge’s sons found nearly 20 years of diaries in which their father describes working life at the Houses of Parliament, including entries specifically referring to voicing safety concerns almost 40 years ago.
Solicitors from the law firm Fieldfisher are using the diaries as the basis for a case for compensation over a failure to protect Mr Hodge from asbestos.
Although Mr Hodge’s former employer, the Ministry of Public Building and Works, no longer exists, the case is expected to be brought against the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as its successor.
Lawyers say the entries show that it was likely he was working in an unprotected environment as he supervised maintenance of boilers and pipes lagged with asbestos.
Shaheen Mosquera, a solicitor representing Mr Hodge’s family, is also handling the case of a 56-year-old Essex man who worked as an insulation engineer at the Houses of Parliament in the 1980s and is now suffering from another asbestos-related lung disease.
Source: The Telegraph
Date Published: October 27, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown