Hitchin man suing county council for exposure to asbestos

Herts Council

 

A former teacher is taking legal action after contracting a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Paul Crabtree taught religious education at Bessemer School in Hitchin for a decade, from 1972 until the school’s closure in 1988.

He worked in a post-war prefabricated classroom for most of his time there, where it transpires that asbestos was part of the building’s fabric. Mr Crabtree has since contracted mesothelioma – a cancer of the stomach lining and lungs that is primarily caused by asbestos. Mesothelioma offers little to no chance of survival and often takes several years or decades to become detectable.

Mr Crabtree stated: “The wisdom at the time was that if you left the asbestos alone it was all right – but I have been affected by it.” It has been found that asbestos is fairly harmless if left alone, but if it is disturbed in any way, the fibres and dust can be released into the air, thereby becoming deadly.

Asbestos was removed from the school from 1983 onwards, a period of time when the dangers of asbestos were starting to become clearer in the UK.

After leaving Bessemer School, Mr Crabtree went on to teach at Royston’s Roysia Middle School between 1989 and 2004, but unfortunately had to retire due to being diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a form of bone marrow cancer.

Paul is now teaming up with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, one of the UK’s largest firms, to bring a civil court case against Hertfordshire County Council. A financial settlement is yet to be agreed, with talks between the two parties set to continue.

Due to the amount of time it takes for the majority of asbestos-related diseases to show, many stories concerning asbestos exposure many decades ago have only recently hit the news. If anything, such stories further highlight the need for asbestos removal; just because the use of it has been prohibited, doesn’t mean it isn’t still lurking around in some older buildings.

For more information on asbestos removal, asbestos surveying or other services regarding asbestos safety, don’t hesitate to contact Trident Surveying today.

North East victims of asbestos and their families receive £2.7m payout

asbestos compensation

Each year, approximately 13,000 people die from diseases caused by work-related asbestos exposure. More often than that, the families of the victims are fortunate enough to receive compensation, with those currently suffering from these diseases able to apply for benefits.

For asbestos victims in the North East of England, an incredible amount has been raised by one especially effective support group.

The ASCG’s work for asbestos victims

 The Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group consists of Macmillan Cancer Support, Northern TUC (Trades Union Congress), West View Resource and Advice Centre and various other trade unions.

As well as offering advice, information and support to asbestos exposure sufferers and their families, the group has helped to secure £2.7 million in payouts over the last year for 170 people in the region.

Besides benefitting those currently suffering from asbestos-related diseases, including the always-fatal mesothelioma (a form of cancer that affects the stomach lining and lungs), such money raised helps to support the families of those who have unfortunately succumbed to these diseases.

Asbestos: by no means a long-gone problem

Among the many to have been indirectly affected in recent times by the devastating effects of Susan Dean, who is attempting to acquire information on the working conditions of her late father, John Robert Harbottle.

Mr Harbottle worked at a shipyard in Wallsend from 1947 until the early 1960s. He sadly passed away due to heart and lung disease in 2014.

Groups like the ASCG are needed more than ever, as many of the tragedies caused by exposure to asbestos have only arisen in the last few years. Many diseases caused by exposure can take several decades to be detected, by which time it is often too late for treatment to be of any help.

Asbestos hasn’t been used as a building material since the last century, but it can still often lurk in old buildings or on building sites. Trident Surveying offers a range of services, including asbestos surveys and asbestos removal project management which helps to guard against workplace asbestos exposure.

For more information on Trident Surveying and what we can do for the safety of your own organisation’s workers where they may otherwise come under threat of lethal asbestos exposure, please get in touch today.

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