RETIRED boiler maker John Snelson died from asbestos-related lung disease which he developed due to exposure to asbestos during his working life, an inquest was told.

The inquest at Warrington heard that Mr Snelson, from Twemlow Lane, Holmes Chapel, who died in April at the age of 82, had been exposed to asbestos when working for ICI and Associated Octel.

A post-mortem examination conducted following Mr Snelson’s death found the cause of death was bronchopneumonia due to pulmonary fibrosis, which in turn was due to asbestos exposure.

Dr David Butterworth said in a statement that Mr Snelson had a claim for asbestos-related disease settled, and therefore there was acceptance that he had been exposed to asbestos in his occupation.

Alan Moore, Senior Coroner for Cheshire, said on the evidence he had heard he found Mr Snelson had died as the result of asbestos-related lung disease, which had developed due to occupational exposure to asbestos.

He said: “My conclusion is industrial disease (asbestos-related). The medical cause of death was directly linked to occupational exposure to asbestos during Mr Snelson’s working life.”

The inquest was held at Warrington Coroner's Court on October 14.

In 2017 Mr Snelson went to see his GP at Holmes Chapel Health Centre with shortness of breath, and after being referred to Leighton Hospital was diagnosed as having idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Mr Moore read out parts of a document which had been prepared by Mr Snelson with the help of solicitors, in relation to a civil claim, which detailed his employment history.

Mr Snelson worked at ICI between 1953 and 1968/9, having begun an apprenticeship in 1953.

Mr Snelson said in the document: “Pipework throughout the plant was lagged with asbestos, as was the outside of the air ducts and chutes.

“When I was moving machinery and going in and out of the pipework I inevitably knocked the asbestos lagging, which, since some of it was very old, would give off a lot of dust.

“Sometimes I had to remove whole sections of pipework and sometimes had to carry out patch repairs.

“I removed the asbestos and the asbestos lagging that was around the pipe.

“I would either rip the lagging off with my hands, or if it was stubborn, I would hit it with a hammer.

“The pipes I worked on were usually above my head, which meant the larger lumps of asbestos would fall.

“The finer dust that was given off would float around me until settling on me or falling to the ground.

“The boilers in ICI were used for heating and processing the chemicals, and it was imperative they were in good working order.

“I assisted in removing the asbestos panels that insulate the boiler.”

Mr Snelson worked for Associated Octel from 1969 to 1979 as a boiler maker at the Northwich site, and part of his job was maintaining the boilers.

He said in the document: “I was working close to asbestos-lagged pipes. The boilers also had asbestos-lagged pipes coming off them, which I had to work on if they were damaged.

“Again I removed the lagging by hand or with a hammer if necessary and let the lagging fall to the floor.”