Asbestos causes death of accomplished Derby musician

derby concert orchestra

It greatly saddened us recently here at Trident Surveying to read of another death from industrial disease that was ultimately attributable to asbestos exposure – that of founder member of the Derby Concert Orchestra, Roy Harrison. It is another reminder of just how crucial the right asbestos surveys and asbestos air testing services could be in modern workplaces for averting future tragedies.

Mr Harrison, who once performed in front of the Queen at Buckingham Palace and was part of the group for six decades, worked in the railway industry until he was in his 50s, prior to becoming a music teacher at Abbotsholme Boarding School, Rocester.

The talented orchestral player was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis – scarring of the lungs following asbestos exposure – six years ago. He died at London Road Community Hospital in early June at the age of 82. His widow, Joan, to whom he was married for 58 years, recently attended an inquest at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroners’ Court.

Mrs Harrison described her late husband as a “very well respected and accomplished musician” who had even been able to play with the industrial disease for three years, which she put down to his ability to breathe via his diaphragm. He finally slowed down once he became unable to play long notes.

Mr Harrison began working at Derby’s Locomotive Works in 1949 after leaving school, and it was while he worked as an apprentice fitter and millwright that he was first exposed to asbestos. He performed for the Queen after being called up for National Service in the mid-1950s, and worked in the railway industry until 1988, when he was made redundant and began to teach the flute.

Such was his high level of activity even after diagnosis, that he was helping to teach a group of 12 female musicians, the Champagne Flutes in Burton, right up to his death. Paul McCandless, Assistant Deputy Coroner, confirmed that Mr Harrison died due to an industrial disease.

 Talk to Trident Surveying today if you need to check for asbestos in any building in your workplace. We are among the UK’s leading asbestos surveyors and can respond quickly to all of your surveying and air monitoring requirements. We offer transparent, easy-to-digest reports and can provide you with impartial and accurate advice.

Trident Surveying is a fully-insured, indemnified service that covers the whole of the UK. We are passionate about saving lives and playing a pivotal role in the right against asbestos, so please contact us today if you wish to learn more about our service.

Bloomsbury Theatre closes over asbestos find

Bloomsbury Theatre

One of London’s most iconic venues, the Bloomsbury Theatre, has been forced to close early for large-scale construction work after asbestos was found in the building.

The theatre was supposed to close in January 2016 for six months next year, prior to minor building works disturbing asbestos in the building. This led to management deciding to close the venue early so it can still reopen by next summer – another story that has highlighted the continued importance of asbestos surveying and asbestos air testing.

Staff members are now collaborating with production companies to find venues for shows that were due to take place at the venue before January. These include Gangsta Granny (an adaptation of David Walliams’ children’s book) and a fundraising event for the Arts Emergency charity.

University College London, the theatre’s owners, said that the decision was essential for safety purposes. The institution said the works would now “take longer than anticipated”, adding that “we apologise for the inconvenience caused”. However, the recently opened Studio part of the building is to remain open while the main auditorium is out of use.

The theatre, on Gordon Street in the Borough of Camden is famed for hosting high-profile drama, music, comedy and dance productions. It first opened in 1968, when it was called the Collegiate Theatre and was renamed the Bloomsbury Theatre in 1982. It was known as The UCL Bloomsbury for seven years in the 2000s. Ricky Gervais is among its most famous alumnus.

Talk to Trident Surveying today if you suspect that a building that you manage may contain asbestos. We offer stringent tests and put health and safety at the forefront of everything we do. We travel across the whole of the UK to conduct asbestos testing and have more than 25 years’ experience to draw upon.

Trident Surveying is synonymous with rapid responses, high quality advice and exceptional customer feedback. As an independent service, we are tied to no particular asbestos removal company and pride ourselves on our impartiality. We are available 365 days a year, so why not get in touch with us today to learn more about our asbestos testing services and detailed reports?

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital ‘asbestos exposure’ investigated


Asbestos awareness

Confirmation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that it is investigating claims of asbestos putting workers at risk at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is also confirmation of what every conscientious business owner knows: that one can ever be too diligent in safeguarding against their staff being exposed to this lethal substance.

Prospective and current recipients of asbestos awareness training like that provided by Trident Surveying will take an interest in this news, which concerns remodelling work that took place at the hospital in 2012. Les Small, then hospital project manager, told senior bosses that year of his belief that the construction process had involved damage to asbestos panels.

He was dismissed from his job after this disclosure, an employment tribunal later finding in his favour. Mr Small said that during his time as a capital projects manager at the hospital, when work was underway to convert staff residential units into offices, he had suggested to his line managers that damaged materials surrounding some pipes was asbestos. He raised the issue again about a month later and asked why no action was being taken, at which point he was dismissed.

The tribunal, however, later stated that his sacking was attributable to his making a public interest disclosure, and therefore ruled unfair dismissal.

Wellington, Telford resident Mr Small said: “I don’t know how many people could have been exposed. All I know is there were people going in and out. Not only were they exposing themselves to asbestos whilst in the flat, there were no washing facilities, no changing facilities. Every time they left the flats… that was every chance there was asbestos fibres on clothing.”

The 58-year old welcomed the news of the HSE investigation, pointing out the importance of any incidents of possible asbestos exposure being officially noted for the future. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s director of corporate governance, Julia Clarke, said that it was “co-operating fully with the HSE”.

Such a sad story certainly demonstrates once again how crucial a role the right asbestos awareness training could have for the safety of any organisation’s employees. Indeed, the law dictates that employees and contractors who are liable to be subject to asbestos exposure during any normal work must be given adequate information, instruction and training by their employer.

That is just one reason among many to get in touch with Trident Surveying today about asbestos awareness training that could make a big difference to the safety of your own firm’s workplace.

Asbestos remains prevalent in British school buildings

Asbestos in schools

It seems that every day or week, a new story emerges drawing attention to the fact that asbestos is far from a thing of the past, and that it is in fact continuing to be breathed in by new victims. One such story was that recently published in the Daily Express, revealing that almost nine in every 10 British school buildings still harbour the potentially fatal fibres.

The figures, which will be of great interest to many of those educational and other organisations contemplating investment in asbestos air testing and awareness training, were sourced from Freedom of Information requests to local authorities. They showed that the lethal dust is still present in 86 per cent of the country’s schools, which is much higher than previously thought.

However, leading asbestos expert Professor Julian Peto warned that it would be too expensive to remove all of the fibres, given that such a task would entail rebuilding schools and would “only save” 25 deaths a year. He added that it would be predominantly those over the age of 70 who would die as a result of any exposure during childhood.

The figures were obtained by campaigning group Asbestos in Schools, with founder Michael Lees accusing successive governments of brushing the issue “under the carpet” given the decades that it can take for the disease to develop. He bemoaned the “large number” of children who were exposed to asbestos in schools, which he said was “contributing to the terrible death toll.”

Father-of-two Mr Lees lost his then 51-year old primary school teacher wife, Gina, to the deadly asbestos-linked disease of the covering of the lungs, mesothelioma, in 2000. He described as “a step in the right direction” a review last week that ordered that teachers should be given compulsory asbestos training.

Of the 2,535 deaths a year in Britain that are attributed to mesothelioma, it is thought that 300 involved exposure to asbestos in schools.

Talk to Trident Surveying today about not just the appropriate asbestos awareness training for your own organisation, but also the most professional asbestos air testing and monitoring service. The latter encompasses four stage clearance testing, reassurance air tests, leak air tests and background air tests.

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