Woman’s death caused by washing asbestos-covered overalls

A pensioner who used to wash her husband’s asbestos-covered overalls died as the result of an industrial disease, an inquest heard.

Margaret Maggs died aged 66 at her home on Knightsbridge, New Waltham.

An inquest at Cleethorpes Town Hall heard how her husband Colin Maggs, who worked as engineer in the trawler industry, would often come home with asbestos dust in his hair and on his overalls.

After suspicions that Mrs Maggs’ death may have been caused as a result of exposure to asbestos, her doctor recommended a file be prepared for the coroner.

 In 2007 she had been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma – a form of cancer which can be triggered by exposure to asbestos.

A statement read to the court written by Mrs Maggs’ in 2008, said her husband’s work clothes used to be “filthy” with dust.

“From 1967 to 1970, I was still living at home but seeing Colin nearly every day. He would come for lunch at my parent’s home and he was still in his overalls,” it said.

“He would keep them on, during which time we would spend about an hour together.

“He did not have a washing machine in his bungalow so I took his overalls and some of the other clothes back to my parents’ home to wash them.”

“He only washed his overalls once every couple of weeks and they were absolutely filthy by that stage.

“I remember laying them on the floor and trying to brush them with a yard brush to try and get some of the dirt off before washing them.”

Mrs Maggs also explained how she used to travel in the same car as her husband while he was wearing his overalls.

The couple married in November 1970. Her husband worked as an electrician at Northern Trawlers Ltd at that time.

Prior to this he worked as an engineer at Ross Group, where he carried out repair work on trawlers and was often exposed to asbestos dust.

Coroner Paul Kelly, pictured, said:

“At various times between 1961 and 1974, Mrs Maggs was exposed to asbestos while washing Mr Maggs’ work clothes.

He was an electrician mainly working in the trawler industry and was exposed to asbestos as part of his normal duties.

This is secondary asbestos exposure but nonetheless it is appropriate to report that Mrs Maggs died of an industrial disease.”