Alphamstone man died from asbestos exposure while working at factory, inquest hears

David Rutledge, of Alphamstone, was admitted to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after suffering a loss of vision, but did not respond to treatment and later died.
David Rutledge, of Alphamstone, was admitted to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after suffering a loss of vision, but did not respond to treatment and later died.

A man from Alphamstone died as a result of being exposed to asbestos dust while working as a clerk in a factory, an inquest has heard.

David Rutledge, 82, of Goulds Road, told in a statement written before his death that he had to regularly shake asbestos from his coat and while visiting the stores sat on a sack of the material as he dealt with orders.

The inquest at Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich earlier today heard that much of the dust was created when machinery was replaced or moved, resulting in asbestos insulation having to be taken off.

In his statement, Mr Rutledge said he could recall no training or warnings about the dangers of asbestos being given at the factory in east London where he worked from 1959 until 1991.

The problem was made worse by dry sweeping of floors resulting in “dense clouds of dust”, said Mr Rutledge, who had to visit the factory regularly in his role as a clerk dealing with orders for rubber products.

Mr Rutledge said in his statement that in December 2015 he was taken ill while out waking his dog, gasping for breath and having to be helped by a neighbour who saw him.

He also stated that previously, he had walked his dog seven days a week, twice a day, for up to four miles.

The inquest heard that in May this year, Mr Rutledge was admitted to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after suffering a loss of vision and did not respond to treatment.

Mr Rutledge, who four months earlier had been disgnosed with the asbestos related disease mesothelioma, died on May 4.

Suffolk area coroner Nigel Parsley recorded a conclusion that Mr Rutledge died as a result of an industrial disease.