Former Sunderland seamstress’s widower seeks information over her asbestos-related death

The devastated husband of a retired seamstress from Sunderland whose death was attributed to asbestos-related disease has appealed to her old colleagues to provide insight into how she could have come into contact with the lethal fibres.

Jean Davis died at the age of 81 at Sunderland Royal Infirmary in February, about 11 months after her diagnosis with mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lung lining suffered by many of those to have inhaled asbestos.

Senior coroner for Sunderland, Derek Winter, recorded at an inquest a week after her death that she passed away due to industrial disease.

A search for answers for Jean’s loved ones

 Gordon Davis, who was married to Jean for nearly 60 years, instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at the Newcastle office of Irwin Mitchell to look into her illness and determine whether she could have been prevented from coming into contact with the deadly substance.

It is as part of these investigations that the legal firm is asking any former workmate of Jean during the period between 1972 and 1989 when she worked as a seamstress at the site of County Luxdon Laundry Ltd on Wycliffe Road, Sunderland to get in touch.

Mr Davis’s legal representative, Emma Tordoff, said: “Just a couple of months on from her death, Jean’s family remain understandably devastated by their loss, and are desperate to understand how she came to develop mesothelioma.

“We are determined to ensure that Jean’s loved ones gain justice regarding her death. We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to shed further light on the presence of asbestos at this site and the working conditions that Jean would have generally faced.”

What is already known about Jean’s workplace?

 County Luxdon Laundry was later known as De Mille Cleaners. Jean worked within the company’s pressing area, which some witnesses have already told Irwin Mitchell was very hot due to the presence of irons and presses.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that asbestos lagging was present on pipework near where Jean worked.

Mr Davis, 83, commented: “Losing Jean has been incredibly difficult for me and the entire family. She was a very proud and secretive woman, so many of the family only ultimately learned of her illness around Christmas time, when her condition had deteriorated.

“While nothing will ever change what has happened, we all just want to know whether her illness could have been prevented and whether more should have been done to protect her. If anyone could help, it would be hugely appreciated.”

Those with potentially helpful information are urged to contact Irwin Mitchell’s Emma Tordoff by emailing emma.tordoff@irwinmitchell.com or calling (0191) 2790095.

Through the vast range of asbestos-related services that we provide here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, including asbestos management surveys, demolition surveys, asbestos testing and the removal of asbestos, we can help to maximise your peace of mind with regard to the safety of your premises. Phone us now, on 03333 441555, for your competitive quotation.

 

North East England records particularly high rate of asbestos-related deaths

As reported by the ChronicleLive website, figures have now been released detailing the number of deaths from asbestos-related disease across the UK over the last few decades, making for particularly grim reading for the North East of England.

North Tyneside and South Tyneside ranked third and fourth respectively on the death register, a sad reflection of the formerly thriving shipyard and building industry in this part of the country.

Thousands in the region recorded to have died due to asbestos

 The high occurrence of asbestos-related deaths in the North East is a subject that is especially close to our hearts here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, given the two offices that we maintain in the region, in Sunderland and Durham.

Nonetheless, given the history of the area, it sadly does not shock us that almost 6,300 deaths were recorded across the region from 1981 to 2015 due to exposure to the deadly fibres.

When the death numbers are compared to how many would normally be expected to die in the area – the standard mortality ratio – North Tyneside is placed third in the UK for the highest rate of male mesothelioma deaths, with 491. This compares to the 364 recorded for fourth-ranked South Tyneside, with only Barrow-in-Furness and West Dunbartonshire placing higher across the entire country.

As for female mesothelioma deaths, Sunderland came in second with 144, only beaten by Barking and Dagenham.

A truly bleak set of figures for the area

 The numbers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between 1981 and 2015, 2,319 people – 1,969 male and 350 female – died of mesothelioma in the Tyne and Wear area alone. The rest of the North East saw 3,979 mesothelioma deaths – 3,415 male and 564 female – in the same timeframe.

It is all a very depressing reminder of the continued paramount importance of the work of asbestos removal contractors in ridding sites across the region and beyond of this potentially extremely dangerous material.

We can help to protect against the perils of asbestos

 Please contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team today, on 03333 441555 or by completing and submitting our straightforward quote request form, to find out more about the work that our own professionals can do to make your premises safer.

We have offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and London as well as the North East of England, which enables us to provide a genuinely nationwide service.

Public ‘not at risk’ from asbestos after Glasgow nightclub fire

One of the sternest recent tests for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service occurred on the morning of Thursday 22nd March, when a fire took hold in the roof of a building on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street that it was initially feared could spread to nearby structures such as the historic Pavilion Theatre.

Thankfully, that dreaded scenario did not come to pass, although the decision was made by Glasgow City Council not to allow staff access to the theatre for about two months amid concerns about smoke damage and damage caused to some of the venue’s doors by fire-fighters.

Nonetheless, one positive development is the fire service’s statement that there is “no risk” to the public of being exposed to asbestos as a result of the sad blaze.

Vital atmospheric testing undertaken

 According to a fire service spokesperson on 23rd March, atmospheric testing had been carried out and “concluded that there is no risk to the public from asbestos.”

However, the council deemed buildings at 92-96 and 98-106 – the latter including Victoria’s nightclub – to be unsafe, adding that they would have to be demolished.

The fire broke out at about 8:20am on the Thursday, and at its height, more than 120 fire-fighters and 20 fire engines were mobilised to the city centre.

What dangers can asbestos pose in fires like this?

 While worries about the asbestos risk from this particular high-profile fire have thankfully been quelled, that does not mean your own buildings could not pose such a danger in the event of a devastating conflagration like this.

The use of asbestos in buildings in the UK was completely banned before the end of the 20th century, but the harmful material may still be present in properties built or revamped before then.

Asbestos was once widely used in such areas of buildings as under the floorboards, boilers, pipework, insulation, calorifiers and heat exchangers. If a person inhales asbestos fibres, some may become trapped in the organs and cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. Thousands of deaths each year are linked to asbestos-related diseases.

Don’t leave asbestos removals to chance

 If you are unsure whether the users or occupants of your buildings or members of the public could be exposed to asbestos on your premises, it’s essential to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Instead, get on the phone to our experts in asbestos removals here at Trident Asbestos Solutions today, calling 03333 441555 for your competitive quotation.  

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