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.

Asbestos released from 1983 warehouse fire claims second victim

COD Donnington

 

The aftermath of a fire at the largest army storage warehouse in Europe has claimed its second victim, more than 30 years after the event itself.

Paula Ann Nunn died aged 68 from mesothelioma in September. The lung disease, a form of cancer, is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, and her death has been directly linked to the fire that took place at COD Donnington in 1983.

The fire sent an excessive amount of smoke, dust and debris high into the air, with it later raining down over a 15 square mile area. Particularly affected were the gardens of the people living nearby.

The extent of the debris was so great that the first victim of mesothelioma linked to the fire, Ellen Paddock, described “seeing snowflakes falling, and playing in them”. Tragically, these “snowflakes” were deposits of asbestos released by the fire. Mrs Paddock died in 2008, aged only 31.

Before her death, Mrs Nunn contacted Asbestos Support, telling them of the ash from the fire that had collected in her garden at the time of the fire. A local coroner stated: “For two days there were no warnings that the dust was dangerous and by this time a lot had accumulated over the local area, in particular in Mrs Nunn’s back garden.” Initially, it was denied that the ash contained asbestos, and it remained in the street for almost a week before a clean-up operation began.

Although Mrs Nunn’s death was recorded as accidental by her coroner, he pledged to keep the file on COD Donnington open, as it is sadly expected that further similar cases will open in the future.

Such incidents like these are far from isolated, however. Indeed, there have been dozens of cases worldwide in which mesothelioma has been linked to asbestos, specifically in ash following fires.

Such a high incidence of the disease should simply motivate your organisation all the more to invest in asbestos air testing if asbestos has been disturbed or exposure through damaged asbestos is presumed, of the kind that we can offer here at Trident Surveying.

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.

Former textile worker died from asbestos exposure

Asbestos laggingIt’s not just tradesmen that can be regularly exposed to asbestos.A former textile worker from Bradford died earlier this year after being exposed to the dangerous material. It was found that the lady had been exposed unknowingly to asbestos most of her life.A hearing in Bradford was told that 69 year old Margaret Bentham of Thornton, Bradford died at her home in February this year after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.Having worked as a machinist in various factories in Bradford she may have been in contact with the deadly asbestos material most of her life.A post mortem examination found that Miss Bentham had died from malignant mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos.A written statement made with Miss Bentham’s solicitor’s before her death detailed her working history. For almost 22 years she had worked mainly repairing industrial garments such as overalls.The statement included her experiences in one of her previous jobs in the textile industry which was in a three storey, Victorian styled property in Vicar Lane, Bradford.In this property she sat about 10 feet away from three steam presses which had asbestos lagged pipes.Asbestos lagging is known to be one of the most dangerous materials containing asbestos. As stated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).Miss Bentham said that to get past the pipes she used to brush against them and that she would get dust on her and on the garments. She used to pat the dust of, which would mean that she would be inhaling the deadly fibres.In approximately 11 years at this workplace Miss Bentham could not remember the pipes being repaired or replaced.A verdict that she had died of industrial disease was recorded by Bradford assistant coroner Tim Ratcliffe.He said: “I am satisfied that during her working life she could have been exposed to fibres of asbestos which led to malignant mesothelioma.“It seems clear to me certainly that on the balance of probabilities that on that basis industrial disease is the appropriate verdict for this case.”

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