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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

 

 

 

 

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