Attention turns to Harrods tunnels after woman’s cancer diagnosis



A probe is underway as to whether a woman diagnosed with a fatal asbestos-related cancer may have breathed in the fibres of the deadly dust in tunnels beneath Harrods during her time there as a lingerie seller. The concerns of lawyers for 75-year old Hertfordshire resident Sandra Schaverien show once more how crucial asbestos air testing can be for so many British workplaces.

Schaverien was left “shell-shocked” by the news that she has developed the terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs, mesothelioma. She believes it may have arisen from when she used to walk through the Knightsbridge department store’s underground tunnels during her time working there between 1991 and 2001.

The mother-of-three would use the tunnels to access the store and collect merchandise, and remembered them as “very dusty”, according to asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, Helen England. The firm is helping Schaverien to establish how she came into contact with the lethal dust, and has appealed for her former colleagues to get in touch.

England added: “Sandra has been devastated by her terminal diagnosis. We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Harrods between 1991 and 2001 as they may have vital information that could help provide answers.”

Schaverien explained: “I started suffering from chest pains and was struggling to breathe. When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma I was devastated and remain shell-shocked to this day.” She added that her husband had Parkinson’s disease for 10 years, and that she felt unable to share her diagnosis with him out of a wish to “spare him unnecessary anxiety.”

She expressed a hope that her one-time colleagues would get in touch, given the value – however small – of any information about the potential presence of asbestos at the Brompton Road store. She continued: “Nothing can turn back the clock but knowing that my family will have financial security in the future will give me peace of mind, and allow me to make the most of the time I have left.”

Harrods said that it was “very sorry to hear of the ill health of a former employee”, and that having not received any request for a further investigation into the matter, it was unable to comment further – except that “Employee wellbeing is our priority and we would take any claim extremely seriously.”

Here at Trident Surveying, in case of any doubt, we would urge you to enquire today about asbestos air testing for your organisation that could help to prevent future tragedies for your own current employees.

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