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.

IOSH ‘No Time To Lose’ campaign shines light on occupational cancer

asbestos awreness

Last November, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) launched a campaign with the support of Macmillan Cancer Support, business leaders and academics, called No Time To Lose, designed to draw attention to the scourge of occupational cancer – a development that should also emphasise the importance of the right asbestos surveys in Birmingham and UK.

However, occupational cancer isn’t just a consequence of asbestos exposure, with such other work-related carcinogens as silica dust and diesel exhaust fumes contributing to conservative estimates of around 8,000 cancer deaths, of 14,000 people who contract the disease in the UK every year. Across the world, more than 666,000 people a year die from occupational cancer – one every 47 seconds.

Despite these figures being much higher than those for fatal workplace incidents, the invisibility of carcinogens, together with the long latency of their effects and the lack of knowledge around them, means that insufficient work is being done to bring down these immense numbers of cancer registrations and deaths. That’s why the campaign has called for governments and employers to work together to beat occupational cancer.

The proposed measures of the IOSH – which is the largest professional occupational safety and health organisation – have subsequently included a national database of work-related carcinogen exposure, apprentice awareness training, greater research into the potential cancer risk of new technologies and an increased emphasis on occupational cancer in medical courses.

The Chartered body has also urged businesses to sign a pledge demonstrating a commitment to controlling their own levels of workplace carcinogenic exposure. IOSH has also drawn attention to many of the most prevalent myths related to occupational cancer, such as that asbestos is the only cause of work-related cancer and work cancer cases are in decline.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones commented: “We need a concerted joint effort to educate and protect future generations from work-related cancer. Simple actions today will save lives tomorrow – there really is no time to lose in tackling this global tragedy.”

Imperial College London’s Dr Lesley Rushton, who led the most recent research into the UK’s work cancer burden, added: “There’s no excuse for young people entering into work and being exposed. And we need innovative ways to get key messages to the self-employed and those working in smaller businesses.

“If we don’t do something now, we are going to have thousands of occupational cancers annually, but if we take action now we can beat occupational cancer. We know there are problems with exhaust fumes and shift work, sun exposure is a problem. We know what the problems are, and we know how to reduce the risks. Now, we just need action.”

Football legend Stuart Pearce admits to asbestos exposure

Stuart Pearce 2

Many of those organisations and individuals contemplating asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Nottingham, Yorkshire, Newcastle or elsewhere in the country will be interested to read of the launch of a new asbestos safety campaign by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Adding particular intrigue to the campaign is the backing of former Nottingham Forest footballer and manager and all-round football hero Stuart Pearce, who has revealed that he may have breathed in the deadly substance during his four years as a part-time electrician in the early 1980s.

The one-time Newcastle United man worked in the trade during his early days as a footballer, and said that there was a genuine future possibility of him developing a fatal asbestos-related disease. He urged tradesmen and women to educate themselves on the lethal fibre and adopt suitable protective measures.


The 52-year old commented: “It’s chilling to think I could have been exposed to it without knowing – we were simply ignorant about the risks back then. Today there’s no excuse – most people know how dangerous asbestos is but many think it’s a thing of the past. It’s not, it’s still there.”

The football hero, who started his career with Wealdstone and also played for Coventry City, West Ham United and Manchester City, pointed out that the substance remained present in the walls, ceilings, floor tiles and guttering of many buildings built prior to 2000.

Pearce added that it “really could mean the difference between life and death” for people to make themselves aware of where asbestos can be found and how to safely deal with it, even on such basic jobs as drilling holes and sanding.

He concluded that “It can be so easy to breathe in this deadly dust and it may be years until you realise you’ve been affected.”

Much of the fibre that was formerly used for the insulation of buildings has not been removed, raising the risk that in the event of its disturbance, it could be inhaled and cause serious – often deadly – lung disease.

The HSE has said that the 5,000 deaths per year that can be attributed to asbestos is higher than the number of people killed on the roads. That is another indication of just how crucial it is for organisations to be suitably proactive by organising the right asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Teesside, Sunderland or wherever in the UK they are based.

Leeds man dies following asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure

In another sad news story indicating just how important asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Leeds Newcastle, Teesside and other major UK conurbations remain for the protection of future generations of workers, a law firm is appealing for contact from former colleagues of a Leeds carpenter who died of cancer more than four decades after breathing in asbestos dust.

Terry Ellis of Seaccoft died last June at the age of 72, just three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, the deadly cancer of the lung lining. According to Irwin Mitchell lawyers, the grandfather-of-17 pinpointed two companies where he came into contact with asbestos in the 1960s.

Those two firms were the building company George Wimpey, where he worked as a carpenter between 1961 and 1966, and the now-defunct John Atkinson and Sons Ltd, a roofing contractor for which he worked from 1966 to 1970.

Now, encouragement is being given to any former workmates who can provide additional information about Mr Ellis’s work at these two companies.

Mark Aldridge, an Irwin Mitchell solicitor specialising in industrial disease cases and representing Terry’s widow, commented: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable and terminal cancer. It causes victims and their families so much distress and is so often caused by exposure during the working life of the victim.

“Unfortunately, Terry was no longer in contact with his former colleagues who he worked with in the 1960s, so we need people who worked with him to come forward and tell us about his exposure to asbestos and what measures, if any, were taken to protect him and other employees from the dangers of asbestos.”

Mr Ellis’s widow Maureen, 60, said: “It was absolutely heart-breaking to watch Terry deteriorate so quickly after his mesothelioma diagnosis. When we married in 2004 we had hoped to have a long and happy life together. We never thought that there was a spectre such as this in his past employment.”

Those with information that could help are advised to contact Mark Aldridge at Irwin Mitchell by emailing mark.aldridge@irwinmitchell.com or calling 0113 394 6757.

We have extensive expertise in management of the lethal substance here at Trident Surveying, and can therefore provide asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Yorkshire, Sunderland or elsewhere, when and where required at your own organisation’s workplace.



Family of late asbestos victim appeals for information

asbestos management


Comprehensive asbestos surveys in Birmingham may now thankfully be widespread practice, but that has sadly come too late for many of those to come into contact with the lethal substance. One such person was West Bromwich father-of-four Gary Williams, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2012, before dying in July 2013.

Although mesothelioma – a cancer in the lining of the lungs – is strongly associated with exposure to the deadly dust, his family is still unsure exactly how that occurred, leading his daughter, Claire, to appeal for information from her father’s one-time colleagues at Rugeley Power Station, where he previously worked as a scaffolder.

It was initially the 66-year old himself who instructed Irwin Mitchell’s specialist industrial disease solicitors to investigate whether every possible measure was taken to avoid him coming into contact with asbestos – a fight for justice that Claire has continued on his behalf. She and Irwin Mitchell are requesting that Gary’s former co-workers at the British Building and Engineering Association (BB and EA) between 1965 and 1971 get in touch with them.

Not only is it thought that these workers could possess invaluable evidence concerning the substance’s presence at the various sites where Gary was contracted to work, but they may also be able to provide insight into the company’s working conditions. Gary was handed his devastating diagnosis of terminal disease at a time when the family was still struggling to come to terms with his wife Betty’s sudden death in summer 2012.

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



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.

Settlement for relatives of Aston University employees

asbestos surveys Birmingham


If any news story serves to remind us of the great importance of asbestos surveys in Birmingham for the city’s modern day employers, it is the one recently reported by the Birmingham Mail of the compensation payout for the families of two former Aston University workers who died from asbestos-related diseases.

University secretary Valerie White and laboratory technician Robert Burns worked in the Birmingham University’s Biological Sciences department from the 1960s to the 1980s, where they were exposed to the killer dust due to its use for lagging pipes in the basement. Mr Burns, who died in September 2010 aged 75, was present during the on-site cutting up of asbestos insulation boards.

The researcher, who relocated to Cockermouth in Cumbria later in life, died from mesothelioma, a cancer in the lung lining widely known to be caused by asbestos exposure. The same disease was contracted by Mrs White from Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield. She died in October 2009, aged just 52.

Legal action was launched by the relatives of both victims through Birmingham-based solicitors Irwin Mitchell, leading to an undisclosed payout.

Mrs White’s widower, Christopher, 61, commented: “Valerie’s illness came as such as shock to us and it was heart breaking to see her in pain and watch her strength slowly deteriorate at such a young age, knowing that ultimately there was no cure to the disease.

“Since Valerie died we have been determined to secure justice for her death and we are relieved that our legal team’s persistence paid off having now secured a settlement from Aston University.

“We hope that this will act as a reminder to employers to protect their workers from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones endure so much pain and suffering.”

Mr Burns – known as Bob – was husband for 42 years to Jane, who said: “It was devastating to watch my husband go through so much pain in the final years of his life.

“The last four years since Bob’s death have been a terrible ordeal and I am very glad that the case is now over and the university have had to pay for the suffering they caused, although no amount of money can make up for Bob’s suffering or my loss.

“Our daughters and grandchildren miss him as I do and he will never be replaced in their hearts or mine.”

The case is certainly an extremely sad one that signals, once more, how thankful we should now be for the widespread use of professional asbestos surveys in Birmingham, including in public buildings like universities and hospitals, where it may still be a risk.

A spokesperson for Aston University stated: “We are pleased that a settlement has now been reached on these two cases, which relate to an earlier chapter in the history of the university.”

School reopens after professional asbestos monitoring ensures safety

asbestos in schoolsYardleys School in Tyseley, Birmingham has finally reopened following a 6-week closure caused by an asbestos scare.

The school closed in mid-October when a suspected arson attack perpetrated against a neighbouring factory led to the release of a dust cloud containing the lethal substance. With the school’s 975 pupils put at risk, not to mention a large number of teaching and support staff, the school was forced to close its doors. Rose Hughes, the school’s head teacher, posted a statement on Yardleys’ website stating that the school would remain closed until a safety certificate had been received to confirm the proper clearance of asbestos.

Intensive cleaning of the school roof and building has now taken place, air filters replaced and ongoing air quality tests conducted, all by properly registered asbestos surveying personnel. The UK Asbestos Training Association stated that, despite the cost to the school, this was the correct decision to make to ensure that the premises were totally free of potentially fatal particles.

Now reopened, pupils will enjoy less recreation time for the foreseeable future, as access to outside space has been limited. A statement released on Yardleys’ website reports: “We will monitor the safety of the site on a daily basis, since there remains a risk of recontamination during the demolition of the factory.”

The school has been forced to spend tens of thousands of pounds using an online tutoring service, and on hiring transportation to carry students between six venues made available for interim teaching. Estimates place the cost of these temporary initiatives at around £60,000.

The cost of closure was substantial for Yardleys, but those costs pale in comparison to the potential health complications that may have resulted from an inadequate surveying of the affected area or a lack of ongoing air monitoring tests. Stories such as this serve as fitting reminders of the importance of companies, like Trident Surveying, that can quickly and reliably offer those services.

Our asbestos surveys in Birmingham are made available to prevent problems like this occurring, while our ongoing testing services are similarly useful in ensuring any given area’s protection from contamination.





Results announced of HSE’s latest asbestos management in schools inspections


Asbestos in Schools

Asbestos in Schools

A timely reminder of the importance of the right asbestos management surveys in educational establishments is the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) publication of the results of its most recent asbestos in schools inspection initiative.

The period between April 2013 and January 2014 saw the inspection by HSE of a carefully selected random sample of 153 schools outside local authority control, including independent, voluntary aided and foundation schools, academies and free schools.

71 per cent of the inspected schools were not required to make any changes to their present asbestos management arrangements or were given straightforward, simple advice. HSE did give written advice to 29 per cent (44 schools), and needed to take enforcement action for 13 per cent (20 schools). This action was in the form of improvement notices setting out a requirement for recipient schools to adjust their asbestos management arrangements.

Failures like training staff and the production of written management plans attracted enforcement action – not due to pupils or staff being deemed at significant risk of exposure, but because these are vital elements of the required control measures.

The new survey showed an overall improvement in compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations in England, Scotland and Wales compared to the findings of a similar programme that inspected 164 non-local authority schools in 2010/11, when 28 schools had 41 improvement notices served upon them.

The Head of HSE’s Public Services Sector, Geoff Cox, said that the last few years had seen “a lot of work by stakeholders across the school sector to raise awareness of the duty to manage asbestos. It is really encouraging to see that awareness of the requirements has increased since our previous inspection initiative.

“That said, schools should not be under any illusion – managing asbestos requires ongoing attention. Schools now have access to a wealth of guidance setting out clear and straightforward steps to achieve and maintain compliance. Where duty holders fall below acceptable standards, HSE has taken, and will continue to take, enforcement action.”

All schools are required to have up to date records of materials within their establishment that contain asbestos, so that the school knows the location of such materials that could be damaged or disturbed by normal activities or foreseeable maintenance, or when new equipment is being installed.

There is no significant risk to health posed by asbestos in good condition that remains undamaged and undisturbed, provided that appropriate asbestos management takes place in compliance with the legal requirements and in line with published HSE advice.

Training for maintenance staff whose work could lead to their exposure to asbestos is also essential, with such personnel needing to be made aware of the location and condition of any asbestos in the school.

HSE fines for non compliance to asbestos regulations

When working within the construction industry or on building projects, whether it’s yourself or your company that is involved, the most important thing you need to know is that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE for short) has the right to make unannounced visits to the construction or project site. This is to ensure that the duty holders are complying with the law in regards to managing high risk activities such as asbestos, and that you are strictly complying with current health and safety regulations. The responsible person or company must ensure that adequate steps have been taken to identify asbestos on a site or premises. Usually by getting an asbestos survey done prior to commencement of any works.When working with a high risk material such as asbestos you may receive a visit from the HSE at any time so you will need to ensure that you and your team are working in compliance with the current asbestos regulations. As the duty holder it will also be your responsibility to keep up to date records and asbestos surveys reports, items which the HSE will ask to see. If these are not available at the time of asking then all works will be stopped until provided. This can be an issue as it could halt the project for a lengthy time.The current controls in place regarding asbestos are the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2007 (CDM 2007). These regulations will cover many aspects relating to asbestos such as all non-licensed work needs to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority. A national initiative is taking place to crack down on unsafe practises in the construction industry. This is aimed to reduce the risks of ill health, injury and death for those working in or with the construction industry. As asbestos is one of the most dangerous parts of the construction industry, there is to be a month long campaigns for inspectors to visits sites across England, Wales and Scotland. This initiative is aimed to educate those working in industry about what is to be considered safe and unsafe working conditions. Poor working standards are unacceptable and if a person is working in dangerous conditions they need to be aware of the risks, and how the risks can be reduced or even eliminated. If poor conditions are found then an enforcement action can be carried out by the HSE.From the 1st of October 2012 the Health and Executive began to operate a Fee for Intervention (FFI for short) which is a cost recovery scheme. This scheme is to enforce those who break health and safety laws to pay the costs incurred by the HSE’s inspection and investigation, plus other related costs. Those found to be in breach of the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 will be held liable for the recovery of the HSE’s costs at the price of £124 per hour. Such measures may seem unfair but this type of fine is the most effective way to ensure that all construction sites dealing with issues like asbestos are following the regulations closely. As asbestos is such a dangerous material it’s vital that exposure is controlled when it is discovered.Trident Surveying has experience dealing with asbestos surveys and other asbestos related issues, so you’re looking to get a survey then get in touch via email or phone to find out more about getting a quote.

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