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Global asbestos awareness 2021

Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2021 aims to draw attention to the fact that this year, thousands of people will die from occupational exposure to asbestos.

For many years, we have known that asbestos is a human carcinogen. There is NO safe level of exposure. Prevention is the ONLY cure.

Did you know it can take as long as 50 years for asbestos related diseases to develop?

That means that someone who may have been exposed to asbestos in a job they did as a youngster, or that their spouse/partner did, could be a grandparent by the time they developed the disease.

For this reason, it can be difficult to track down where you were exposed to the deadly fibres.

How we can help

Our legal experts specialise in asbestos related disease claims and act for those suffering from a range of diseases, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural thickening, and lung cancer.

We’re not just here to handle your compensation claim,  we can put you in touch with agencies that will help with benefit entitlements, support or nursing care.

We can also help with advice if you need to put your financial affairs in order or to plan for the future.

Call and speak to us today – 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk

#2021GAAW #asbestos #asbestosis

 

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School children exposed to asbestos

The dangers of asbestos are so well known that you would think there would be no one reckless enough to expose anyone to the deadly substance … let alone children.

Not so!

Worryingly, two recent cases investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have highlighted that school children are still being put at risk.

In one incident, Kent County Council was fined £200,000 after an environmental health inspector, who was at a school on a routine food inspection, saw what he thought was asbestos rope hanging from the ceiling. An investigation found that the caretaker had disturbed an asbestos flue and gasket rope when he had removed a steriliser unit around 18 months previously. Neither the caretaker nor the head teacher had any training in handling asbestos.

Canterbury Crown Court found that the council had failed to prevent exposure to asbestos and also failed to provide suitable training to those likely to be exposed to asbestos while working.

The HSE is also investigating two UK laboratory supply companies after being made aware that gauze mats they have been supplying to schools and colleges for use with Bunsen burners contain asbestos.

A HSE representative commented: “While we assess the overall risk to be low, we have taken swift action. We have ensured that both of the supply companies concerned immediately ceased supply of the gauze mats.” The HSE is now providing cautionary advice to schools on how the mats should be disposed of safely.

Diane Parker, partner and head of Atherton Godfrey’s personal injury department commented on the cases: “It beggars belief that despite the widespread publicity around the potentially fatal consequences of inhaling asbestos fibres, children have been put at risk, especially while at school, which should be a place of safety.

Asbestos related diseases can take as long as 50 years to be diagnosed; we are still receiving compensation claims from elderly railway workers who were exposed to asbestos in the 50’s and 60’s.”

Author: Gail Harris

 

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Furniture manufacturer fined for exposing workers to hardwood dust

A long established furniture manufacturer has been fined by the HSE for exposing its employees to the risk of nasal cancer and occupational asthma.

Andrena Furniture Ltd, based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire is a family owned business manufacturing high quality wooden furniture. Their website boasts that they combine traditional manufacturing methods with modern technology and guarantee that each piece is crafted to the highest of standards.

Unfortunately, these ethics did not extend to the health and welfare of their employees in the workshops who were repeatedly exposed to hardwood dust, a known cause of lung disease and nasal cancer, despite previous warnings and written advice from HSE inspectors.

Diane Parker, solicitor at Atherton Godfrey who specialises in work-related lung disease compensation claims, commented on the case: “An outdated and inefficient extraction system and a poor cleaning regime combined to expose workers to levels of dust that can have life-changing implications.

Breathing in dust from substances such as asbestos, wood, flour, even fur and feathers over a period of time can aggravate existing conditions such as asthma and can cause a number of potentially fatal lung diseases.”

Speaking after the hearing at Luton Magistrates Court, HSE inspector, Sandra Dias said: “Andrena Furniture Ltd was fully aware of the health and safety standards it needed to maintain.

This case should serve as a warning to others that HSE take seriously repeated breaches of health and safety law that exposes employees to health risks.”

Andrena Furniture pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations relating to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1081.40.

Author: Gail Harris