Asbestos-related illnesses continue to cause around 5,000 deaths in the UK each year, despite the toxic material being banned in the UK by 1999. This is because it can take many years for any symptoms to develop in those who were exposed to asbestos earlier in their lifetime. It can often be decades later before those who were exposed to asbestos find out that they have an asbestos-related condition, by which point the prognosis might be very poor. To help raise awareness of the impact that asbestos is still having on the lives of many people today, and spread the word about the support and options available to victims and their families, we have compiled some of the ways in which it has been making the news during August 2018.
Work was being carried out on an area of a school in Aberdeen over the summer holidays when asbestos was discovered in some old insulation boards. Unfortunately, the issue was not correctly reported as per the health and safety protocol, so up to twenty-five people including teachers, janitors and cleaners at the Bridge of Don Academy were allowed back into the affected part of the school for several days until the correct procedure was instigated and the area was closed off. A council investigation into the matter has revealed that a line manager “forgot” about the problem for five days, which is why the response was so slow and people were put at risk. An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive is ongoing.
A device is being developed in Devon that could provide an early warning of the presence of airborne asbestos fibres to workers involved in maintenance, renovation or demolition, where there is a risk of asbestos products being present. As these fibres are usually invisible to the naked eye and have no smell or taste, it’s often the case that those exposed to it have no idea they have been, until they develop symptoms of an asbestos-related illness many years later. The device uses laser light scattering technology to detect asbestos fibres in the air and will sound a warning when found. The first model of the device is expected to be released in early 2019.
A grandfather from Brighton has sadly passed away after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. It’s thought that 71-year old Michael Dawes was exposed to asbestos when he served a five-year heating engineer apprenticeship from the age of just 15, after leaving school. It took around 50 years for symptoms of his asbestos-related illness to develop, but Mr Dawes was finally diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2017, passing away just over a year later in a local hospice.
70-year old Jean Nixon, from the Southampton area, recently passed away from asbestos-related cancer, and it was revealed at her inquest in August 2018 that she is suspected to have been exposed to the harmful substance as a result of laundering her husband’s work clothing during the 1960s and 1970s. Her husband worked in communication tunnels underneath central London and is thought to have brought asbestos dust home on his clothes, which his wife then washed, breathing in the asbestos fibres as she did so.
With the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness often coming as a real shock to victims and their families, it can be difficult knowing where to turn for help and advice. At Dedicated Accident Solicitors, we are experienced in asbestos cases, having helped dozens of families to find advice and practical support, as well as legal assistance if they wish to pursue a compensation claim. Contact us today to discuss your options.