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.  

Oxford library asbestos ‘could have caused professor’s death’

Among the many deaths from mesothelioma – the lethal cancer usually caused by the breathing in of asbestos fibres – to have been reported in the news recently is that of a former professor at Oxford University, who passed away earlier this year, aged 93.

Dennis Shaw was a distinguished figure in the recent history of the university, having once held the position of ‘Keeper of the Books’ at the Bodleian Library, where an inquest has heard he may have come into contact with the notorious now-outlawed substance.

Efforts underway to trace academic’s possible asbestos exposure

 As reported by the Oxford Mail, Dr Shaw wrote a personal statement to his family during his dying days, outlining his former workplaces where he could have encountered the asbestos fibres that led to the development of his cancer.

 

A coroner heard that he was working at the Bodleian Library during the 1970s as major refurbishment and underground construction work took place, and that this may have been the source of the asbestos exposure that ultimately caused his death.

Dr Shaw made specific reference in his personal statement to the library, where he was employed as Keeper of Scientific Books from 1976 to 1991. Prior to taking on the position, he had made regular use of the library as a physics and science academic at the university’s Keble College. He served the college for more than 30 years in all.

He said that nearly every day during work to extend the Bodleian Library in the early 1970s, he was present for an hour and a half to supervise construction. In early December 2016, he was diagnosed with the cancer of the lung lining known as mesothelioma, and was told it was caused by hazards in his workplace.

A much-missed father

 Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, assistant coroner for Oxford, commented: “Dr Shaw sadly died on July 20 this year of mesothelioma, which possibly had work-related causes. He died suddenly in the night.

“Mesothelioma is a disease that comes about due to someone’s exposure to asbestos. He was not aware of any exposure, but it is difficult to know when you’re clearing large amounts of dust during any building project.

“I would suggest the conclusion here is one of industrial disease.”

Dr Shaw’s 58-year-old daughter, Deborah, added after the inquest: “His family is very proud of him. We miss him very much. The last 18 months of his life were marred by such a horrible disease.”

A Bodleian Library spokesman declined to comment on the suggestion that asbestos fibres may have been present during the construction of the library extension, but described Dr Shaw as “a valued colleague and… a much-missed member of staff.”

Request asbestos awareness training from us

We can provide your business with a wealth of asbestos-related services here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, enabling you to better identify, manage and remove this potentially lethal and now banned construction material.

Draw upon our expertise in such areas as asbestos surveys, air monitoring and asbestos removal project management by calling us now, on 03333 441 555, for a competitive quotation.

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.

Harlow man’s family seek answers after his asbestos-related death

sheet metal worker

 

In an all too familiar story that further highlights the needs for services such as the management and safe removal of asbestos, the family of a former sheet metal worker are appealing to his former colleagues for information after he unfortunately succumbed to mesothelioma last year.

John Bright was only 68 years old when he died in November – just 15 months after receiving his initial diagnosis.

 What is mesothelioma?

 Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the body’s major organs, mainly the lungs and stomach.

What makes mesothelioma so deadly is the way it can lay undetected for years and even decades, meaning that by the time a diagnosis is received, the cancer is already in an advanced and practically untreatable stage. Only 50% of sufferers survive a year after diagnosis, dropping to a survival rate of 10% after five years.

Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by one thing – the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibres.

John earned a living fitting air conditioning and air vent ducting for over 30 years, which is where he believed he came into contact with the deadly building material.

John’s widower, Joyce, stated: “He remembered feeding ducting through holes he had cut in corrugated factory roofing which he believed was manufactured with asbestos, he also recalled working on old buildings with asbestos cladding. The nature of his work meant there was also a lot of dust around him.”

A search for answers

 The family worked closely with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell even before John’s death to investigate how his illness developed, and to see whether anything else could have been done to protect him from asbestos exposure at his job, urging anyone with any information to come forward.

“We miss him every day and while nothing will bring him back, we just want to know whether more should have been done to protect him from the risks of asbestos exposure and gain justice on his behalf.”

With so many cases of mesothelioma coming to light in recent years, organisations and individuals alike need to do as much as possible to prevent even more people from suffering from the debilitating and devastating disease – which means ridding the world of as much asbestos as possible.

Enquire to Trident Asbestos Solutions today about our any of our asbestos services that have already proved invaluable for all manner of businesses across the UK.

Widnes widow searches for answers after asbestos-related loss

asbestos in ships

A 69-year old woman from Widnes is appealing for information after her husband died from mesothelioma – a form of cancer that affects the lining of several internal organs and is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Frank Holland worked an eight-year stint in the Merchant Navy, where he tended to work in the boiler and engine rooms of the ships. He worked on various ships during his time there, including The Araby, MV Herdsman, MV Nova Scotia, Roscoe and Esso Tankers.

After he left the Merchant Navy, Frank worked as an HGV driver, aside from a three-year spell at ICI’s Weston Point Salt Works in Runcorn in the 1970s.

He fell ill at 72 and was soon diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and can affect various vital organs including the lungs, stomach and heart. It has a very long latency period, which means it can remain undetected in the body for decades, as was the case with Mr Holland.

The overall survival rate for mesothelioma is extremely poor, but can vary depending on age, how early it is detected and where the cancer is located within the body.

Frank died two months after being diagnosed. His widow Jen is now appealing to his former colleagues for more information on where he could have become exposed to the asbestos fibres.

She stated that “in those days the pipes on ships were always lagged with asbestos, but no one thought anything of it then”.

Jen is working with Stacey White, an industrial disease specialist at law firm Slater and Gordon, to find out more information on the events that led up to his death. White stated that “although he was not aware of the dangers, unfortunately many employers at that time were and what we are keen to establish now is if more could have been done to protect him.”

Nowadays, more and more cases of asbestos-related diseases are coming to light. Fortunately, we are also much more aware of the dangers of asbestos and what can be done to remove it from working or living environments.

Trident Surveying offers a wide array of asbestos safety-related services, including asbestos air testing, asbestos surveying and on-line awareness training. For more information about how such services could benefit your organisation, please feel free 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.

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.

St Albans woman died from multiple asbestos exposure

asbestos

 

The importance of correctly assessing, removing, and working with asbestos can’t be stressed enough. Here at Trident Surveying, we offer a range of services, including the ever-vital asbestos removal project management, to ensure that your home or workplace is 100% safe.

Sometimes, though, the problem is caught far too late. The majority of the time, this is because the horrific affects that asbestos can have often don’t show up until several years later, as was the case with 80-year old Joyce Hood of St Albans.

Ms Hood unfortunately succumbed to mesothelioma in September. A form of lung and stomach lining cancer, mesothelioma is nearly always caused by the breathing in of asbestos fibres, and is always fatal.

A testimony from Ms Hood’s son, Robert, said that she had once worked at a power station in Wales where asbestos was known to be present. He also mentioned the ceiling of the airing cupboard in the family’s home, which was made from crumbling asbestos.

Joyce chose to declare that she had not been exposed to asbestos at work, following an appeal for compensation. Ms Hood’s coroner, Mr Sullivan, then recorded that Joyce had passed due to non-work related asbestos exposure.

As well as inflicting horrific diseases upon those who inhale its fibres, even several decades later, asbestos can also have immediate life-altering affects. Just the other week, a mother and her son were evacuated from their home in Harlow, Essex, after asbestos was detected.

A test carried out by Harlow Council revealed that extremely high levels of asbestos were present in the home of Kara Hanrahan and her eight year old son, Toby.

The extent of the danger of the asbestos has meant that the family’s home has had to be entirely sealed off, with the family’s belongings, including Christmas presents, abandoned inside.

Ms  Hanrahan and her son are currently staying in temporary accommodation while the council carries out further tests to assess the extent to which asbestos fibres have been released.

Asbestos has claimed the life of yet another person, and has ruined another two people’s Christmas. Here at Trident Surveying, we think that incidents like this should never have to occur again. It is precisely because of this that we offer a wide range of services regarding asbestos, including project management on asbestos removal, asbestos air monitoring, re-inspections and asbestos surveys.

Ensure that your organisation’s workplace is safe by contacting our friendly team today about our full suite of asbestos related services.

 

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.

 

Cameron vows to review compensation for veterans suffering asbestos-related disease

cameron

With a large number of sufferers and around 2,500 deaths each year, mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Caused by exposure to asbestos dust, this form of lung cancer is often seen in retired industry workers and those who served in the war. The disease often arises decades after the initial exposure.

So why is it, then, that the current compensation for veterans with mesothelioma is nearly £150,000 less than others would receive?

This question was addressed to our own Prime Minister recently. Labour MP Dave Anderson challenged PM David Cameron not long after The Independent made clear just how drastic the gap in compensation was, which also prompted former military chiefs and service charities to demand action.

Current laws protect the Ministry of Defence from being sued for compensation for any illness or injury caused before 1987. Due to mesothelioma appearing decades after initial exposure, this leaves those currently suffering with the disease dependent on a much smaller war pension.

The government’s current compensation scheme for civilians sees a 63-year old receive a lump sum of £180,000, while those suffering from mesothelioma typically receive just £31,000 a year.

However, the Prime Minister is set to review how mesothelioma sufferers are compensated, in news that has been widely well-received.

Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion. stated that the gap in compensation “is a clear breach of the Armed Forces Covenant. We look forward to the government coming forward with a solution soon.”

Rhod Palmer, a 62-year-old retired commodore, was diagnosed with mesothelioma earlier this year. He stated that “It would be terrific if the Prime Minister brought his full weight to bear on the subject and ensured that Service sufferers of mesothelioma, current and not just future claimants, would be properly compensated and not disadvantaged in comparison to civilian victims of asbestos.”

Fred Minall was a mechanical engineer in the Royal Navy between 1957 and 1965. Another sufferer of the disease, he said that “People who are currently suffering this dreadful disease have served the Country, they deserve to be treated like all citizens and they should not be left in the knowledge they will probably die before the Government will do the honourable thing.”

Such suffering further highlights the urgency of a review of the compensation scheme, as does a quote from Madeleine Moon MP, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee: “Sadly time is not on the side of those who were exposed to asbestos. The PM must give a firm commitment to bring RN personnel into the same compensation scheme as civilians.”

We can only agree strongly with such sentiments here at Trident Surveying. The dangers of asbestos exposure are all too real, which is why we are dedicated to providing reliable and professional asbestos surveying. We provide a wide range of services, including asbestos awareness training and asbestos air testing.

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