Heartbroken Sunderland widow appeals for information after multiple relatives succumb to mesothelioma

In an all-too-familiar case, a family in the North East have been left devastated after an asbestos-related disease claimed the life of David Givens, a former joiner and shop fitter.

David was aged just 63 when he died in August of last year of mesothelioma, a disease caused primarily by exposure to asbestos fibres.

What is mesothelioma?

 Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that primarily attacks the lining of the lungs or the stomach. It is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibres.

The disease often takes decades to be detected. By then, such is the aggressive nature of the disease in its later stages that it is often too late to do anything more than attempt to maintain the sufferer’s quality of life as much as possible.

David received his diagnosis three years before his death – a longer period of time than usual, as cases of mesothelioma are so often only diagnosed only months or even weeks before death.

 His widow, Pamela, is now working with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to discover where David may have been exposed to the deadly material, and to attempt to trace his former colleagues who may hold relevant information.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that an asbestos-related disease has claimed the life of one of the members of Pamela’s family; “Nothing is going to bring David back to us but asbestos has claimed two members of our family now and we just want answers.”

A common occurrence

As mesothelioma has a habit of remaining undetected for decades, many cases of it are only just coming to light now.

According to data from Cancer Research, there were approximately 2,667 new cases of the disease diagnosed in the UK in 2013.

Although asbestos has been banned for use as a building material for over a decade now, it remains present in older buildings up and down the country. Services such as asbestos surveys,  asbestos management and safe asbestos removal are vital to ensure that younger generations don’t have to suffer through asbestos-related diseases.

To enquire about asbestos removal or any of the other acclaimed services that we offer here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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.

Worcestershire County Council admits to asbestos on almost half of its sites

worcester council

 

Many organisations across the United Kingdom make the mistake of neglecting proper asbestos management for their properties due to a belief that asbestos is a problem that belongs to the past. The erroneous nature of such a claim has been demonstrated once again, with the admission that close to 700 council buildings in Worcestershire are contaminated with asbestos.

Worcestershire County Council has recently admitted that nearly half of its 1,500 properties contain the potentially fatal material, which can cause conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer if its fibres are breathed in.

The Council admitted that properties such as schools, libraries and offices contained the deadly fibres, but said that even removal would be unsafe at this point, describing it as “not an option”.

Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader at the county council, stated: “Asbestos is not a problem of the past, it’s a problem of the present. Six hundred and ninety-nine is a heck of a large figure, it should be a priority to remove asbestos from these buildings to reduce the number of people dying.”

Although the true dangers of asbestos have now been known for some time, it continues to kill thousands in the UK each year due to symptoms taking between 20 and 50 years to manifest themselves. The material was commonly used as pipe insulation right up to the 1980s, and doctors warn that the number of fatalities has not yet peaked.

 

Asbestos Action charity holds 13th annual conference

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The team at charity Asbestos Action recently held their 13th annual conference in Dundee, Scotland, leading with a theme of “Asbestos is still with us”. The charity, which supports sufferers of asbestos-related disease as well as their families and carers, aimed with the conference to quash perceptions that asbestos was a remnant of the past affecting only former heavy industry workers.

Many UK people remain at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Despite the deadly substance being banned from use as a building material in the 1990s, it can still be found in buildings across the country, including many schools.

Keynote speaker Sarah Lyons is a senior officer at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and a member of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), which has been working hard to spread awareness about school-based asbestos.

JUAC campaigns for the safe removal of asbestos from buildings used for educational purposes, with Ms Lyons revealing at the event that 44% of schools were unaware whether asbestos was present in their own buildings. The conference was sponsored by Digby Brown Solicitors, and the firm’s Nina Maxwell and Fraser Simpson talked about the latest challenges concerning the pursuit of civil claims related to asbestos.

Mr Simpson said there needed “to be recognition of the risks that asbestos poses, not just to those employed previously in heavy industry and construction, but also to those exposed to asbestos in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere, and a commitment to doing everything possible to eliminate those risks.”

If you are concerned that your school, college or business premises might contain asbestos, please get in touch with Trident Surveying today. We are a UKAS accredited asbestos testing service that can confirm whether asbestos is present in your building via asbestos surveying,  asbestos air testing and other procedures.

The laboratory that we use to test materials found during the surveying process is a state-of-the-art facility, where we conduct detailed examinations by stereo microscope. Trident Surveying has an Edinburgh office, which better enables us to cater for all manner of Scottish businesses and organisations seeking to protect the health of employees or students and prevent future asbestos-related tragedies. Call our friendly and professional team today to find out more.

Vacating Buckingham Palace and Houses of Parliament deemed necessary for asbestos removal

BXEK9B Buckingham Palace, London, UK

Two of the UK’s most recognisable and crucial buildings, Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster, could each be temporarily vacated by their current occupants – and this is largely due to asbestos. Both buildings are said to include problematic amounts of the potentially fatal dust, with brief closures seemingly required for measures that may include asbestos air testing.

It has been reported that the famous residence of Her Majesty the Queen requires maintenance work that would cost £150m and could see the Queen moving out, presumably to another of her royal residences like Windsor Castle. According to the BBC, sources cite the necessary removal of “significant amounts of asbestos” in what has been the primary seat of the British monarch since 1837.

The Palace of Westminster has also been put to its current purpose since the Victorian period and is similarly showing its age, its walls having become filled with asbestos. However, this is just one of many signs of the building’s significant disrepair, which also include rust and crumbling walls.

A report drawn up by consultants for the British government has suggested several possible solutions, but even the least time-consuming option would see the building completely quit by both MPs and Lords before its closure for at least two years. All of the renovation work here would cost at least £3.5bn.

Despite the obvious inconvenience of the loss of use of two of the most important buildings to the running of the country, the threat of unaddressed asbestos must not be underestimated. Removal of the lethal substance would ensure that members of the royal household and politicians would be able to continue their routine business in the respective buildings without putting their health at risk.

Procedures, including reliable asbestos air testing like that on offer from Trident Surveying, would also minimise health dangers to the public who visit these structures. We offer a UKAS accredited asbestos consultancy that your company or organisation can use to fully determine whether or not materials in your premises are contaminated with the fibres known as asbestos.

Contact us now about asbestos awareness training and asbestos air testing services that will help you to meet your legal and moral obligations as a business owner.

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.

Widow in call for details about late husband’s asbestos exposure

asbestos dust, asbestos exposure, asbestos surveys

In yet another sad reminder of the critical role now played by asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Yorkshire, Teesside and other parts of the United Kingdom, the widow of a Bradford man who was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer and died only weeks later is calling for his former colleagues to assist by providing information on how he may have come into contact with the fatal fibres.

Jeffrey Rushworth died at the age of 82 on October 31 last year. Most of his working life had been spent as a shopfitter and joiner. In conjunction with asbestos disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, his widow Joan has requested that his one-time workmates get in touch to help with their investigation into how and when he may have breathed in the material over several decades.

Mr Rushworth worked for Makins in Bradford in the 1950s, moving onto Charles Castles – also based in the city – in the 1960s. His employer between 1969 and 1994 was Northern Design, another Bradford company. As explained by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist asbestos lawyer Mark Aldridge, Jeffrey’s diagnosis with the aggressive and incurable mesothelioma cancer arose so late that he was too ill to provide full details of his working life.

Aldridge added that “As a result, we are urging his former colleagues to come forward and answer the many questions that his family have about his exposure and the working conditions he endured, as well as what measures, if any, were in place to protect employees of these firms.”

Mrs Rushworth, 82, now a Bridlington resident, said that the couple had moved to there so that they could enjoy the Yorkshire coastline in their retirement. When her husband first began to show symptoms in early 2014, neither of them knew the cause of his health problems. She urged any of his former colleagues to come forward with information to assist her search for justice regarding his death.

Anyone with any knowledge of the working conditions at any of the firms for which Mr Rushworth worked are urged to get in touch with Mark Aldridge at Irwin Mitchell. Meanwhile, those individuals and organisations in need of asbestos surveys in Birmingham to help to safeguard future generations of workers may wish to contact Trident Surveying for the complete service.

Prosecution date set for council that reportedly ignored asbestos in town hall


asbestos

 

A court date has finally been given for the prosecution of Waltham Forest council, on account of an alleged breach of asbestos health and safety regulations.

A government watchdog launched an investigation in 2012 after it was revealed that the local authority was aware of the presence of the potentially deadly substance within Waltham Forest Town Hall, but continued to send staff into the contaminated rooms, which were used to store thousands of documents. Many staff members may have spent protracted amounts of time around the substance, with the affected areas being used from 1984 all the way up to 2012 – a total of almost 30 years.

The council admitted to knowing that three types of asbestos were present in the building, including blue asbestos – the most dangerous variety. It insisted that levels were within government guidelines, but locals remained concerned when it was reported that around 5000 bags of paperwork were going to be destroyed due to their potential contamination.

This was not the first time the authority allegedly failed to protect its citizens from asbestos. In 2010, another investigation indicated that the council had not properly managed or monitored the levels of asbestos in local schools.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will now bring the reportedly responsible council members to prosecution on January 19 at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Asbestos related health complications can take years to develop, but often prove fatal. Many workers exposed to the substance decades ago are now developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, with many companies being ordered to pay substantial amounts of compensation to them or their families.

The unreported existence of the deadly substance in a government building serves to highlight the continued presence of asbestos across the country. Similarly, the upcoming prosecution of council members should act as a sharp reminder of the legal consequences involved in failing to make sure that all premises are fully compliant with appropriate regulations.

If you believe that your home or building may contain asbestos, don’t ignore the problem. Instead, contact Trident Surveying today. We offer professional asbestos surveys in Birmingham and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and could save you from the moral, financial and legal costs associated with exposure to this often deadly material.

Why it’s vital to keep up asbestos awareness

Is asbestos a public health problem largely confined to the past? The answer is absolutely not. Indeed, deaths from asbestos – which already exceed those from road accidents each year – are unlikely to peak until 2016. Even then, there are concerns that the level could rise further if the public are not made aware of the potential ongoing risk of asbestos in places of work, premises they may visit and even their own homes.The fact that asbestos ceased to be widely used several decades ago when industry came to appreciate the serious dangers it posed, together with the banning of asbestos in all of its forms in 1999, may lead people to think – quite mistakenly – that there is no longer a need to be aware of or manage asbestos, at least outside certain professions.It’s true that former workers in heavy industry and shipbuilding in the 1960s and 1970s are the most strongly represented group among those to be diagnosed with asbestos related diseases in recent years. But it is also true that many tradesmen and maintenance workers from the 1960’s up until this present day have been and still are being affected by this hazardous material. Today’s workers benefit from much more stringent workplace regulations. However, this ignores one last setting in which people today could still be exposed to asbestos: the home.The widespread use of asbestos in construction for large parts of the 20th century, on account of its great affordability and heat resistance, led to its use in cement, insulating boards,  and even as insulation for wall cavities, pipes and ceilings. It took several decades for people to notice a rise in lung diseases – including pleural plaques, asbestosis, lung cancer and the aggressive chest cancer mesothelioma – in connection with exposure to asbestos fibres.With asbestos fibres often lying dormant in people’s lungs for as long as 50 years following initial exposure, and the symptoms having much in common with various other conditions, spotting mesothelioma often takes too long to save lives. Such clear dangers presented by asbestos only make it all the more important for people to be made aware not only what asbestos is, but also where within the home it may be found.Asbestos was still a routinely used building material when millions of the UK’s present homes were being constructed, and it could still represent a serious health hazard if disturbed – such as by those undertaking DIY. According to a British Lung Foundation survey of 2,000 adults several years ago, 67% said that they could not confidently identify asbestos around the home.However, nor should people feel alarmed or panicked. Asbestos that is in good condition and that does not need to be removed is best left alone. Any homeowners unsure as to the status of asbestos in their home are also welcome to contact Trident Surveying for further advice on how to manage asbestos. 

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