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.

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.

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.”

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.

New Asbestos Awareness Initiative

Asbetsos awareness

 

Report prompts government’s new asbestos awareness initiative

A new survey conducted by Censuswide for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has further affirmed the importance of asbestos surveying by shedding light on the often misunderstood dangers and prevalence of asbestos exposure, prompting a new safety campaign geared towards fighting the danger and increasing employee awareness.

The initiative was launched by Health and Safety Minister Mark Harper, who has stated: “The number dying every year from asbestos related-diseases is unacceptably high. Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople. This safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves.”

The survey uncovered the fact that tradespeople working in fields such as interior decoration, construction, carpentry and many more were being exposed to asbestos more than one hundred times a year, and that their awareness of its prevalence and dangers was shockingly rudimentary.

Disclosing the pervasiveness of such myths as the idea that opening windows and drinking a glass of water would offer such tradespeople substantial protection, the research reported that less than one third of individuals polled could identify the correct safety measures for working around asbestos.

More than half were reported to make potentially fatal mistakes while believing themselves to be acting correctly. It was ultimately concluded that a shocking average of 20 tradespeople succumb to asbestos related diseases every week. The number of people suffering from asbestos-related disabilities is sure to be just as concerning.

The asbestos surveying services provided by Trident Surveying exist to minimise the personal, financial, and legal risks for you and your employees. Asbestos can be found in a host of household areas, and fibres can be easily disturbed by basic work. Once breathed in, these fibres can have lethal results, causing diseases like lung disease and mesothelioma – an aggressive cancer of the chest cavity, outer lung, and abdominal insides.

Asbestos exposure profoundly threatens the health of you and your employees. With increased governmental input aiming to improve public awareness, the legal costs of failing to protect employees is set to grow and grow, meaning that both your firm’s financial and physical wellbeing could be at risk. Contact Trident Surveying to organise your asbestos surveying today, in order to protect yourself for tomorrow.

 

 

 

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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