St Davids pensioner died from silicosis
6:00pm Sunday 24th June 2012 in County News
A 69-year-old St Davids man died from industrial disease silicosis, Pembrokeshire Coroner Mark Layton concluded on Thursday.
Benjamin Alun James Phillips, of Ffynnon Wen, died on February 3rd this year, after spending a large majority of his career working at Middle Mill Quarry in Solva.
F. H. Gilman and Co, which owned the quarry at the time, started to send workers for annual medical tests 25 years ago.
Tests revealed Mr Phillips was ‘very slightly affected’ by silicosis – a respiratory disease caused by dust. On his diagnosis, the quarry owners introduced a supplement to his wages of £5 a month.
The father-of-three had worked his way up to a management position at the quarry and was the sole remaining worker up until he retired last year.
The inquest heard how Mr Phillips had been a ‘very heavy smoker’ since his teens, before quitting 15 years ago, and suffered with shortness of breath.
He was prescribed ventilators and nebulisers, had a home oxygen machine and spent periods in hospital receiving treatment, which had increased since his retirement.
On January 27th, Mr Phillips was experiencing acute breathing difficulties despite being on his oxygen machine for hours at his home and his wife called an ambulance. At Withybush Hospital doctors broke the news to Mr Phillips’ family that he was unlikely to live for more than a few days and he died early on the morning of February 3rd.
A port-mortem confirmed evidence of the industrial disease Mr Phillips had first been diagnosed with 25 years previously.