The effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace can be devastating, not only for employees but also for their loved ones and anyone else with whom they come into contact. In a case on point, a man whose wife died after laundering his dusty work overalls has won him the right to substantial compensation.
The widower worked as an electrician in a car manufacturing plant for three years in the 1970s. He would return from work with his overalls covered in dust, which also caught in his full head of hair, sideburns and moustache. Almost 40 years after he ceased working at the plant, his wife died of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs that is almost invariably associated with asbestos exposure.
After the widower commenced a personal injury claim, the High Court ruled his former employer liable for his wife’s death. He had been exposed to significant quantities of asbestos whilst working at the plant and his wife had suffered secondary exposure through intimate contact with him, and whilst beating and cleaning his overalls. The amount of the widower’s compensation has yet to be assessed.