Around 5,000 people in the UK die of asbestos-related illnesses each year. To raise awareness of the issues around asbestos exposure, the nature of asbestos-related diseases and the ways in which victims and their loved ones can gain access to support, we have compiled some of the ways in which asbestos has made the news during January 2018.

Two construction firms in Derby were fined in January 2018 after admitting to Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court that they breached the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, by allowing labourers, who had received no relevant training, to remove asbestos materials from a building they were renovating in January 2017. Asbestos removal needs to be carried out by licensed asbestos removal contractors, who have stringent control measures in place to ensure the job is done as safely as possible. Without these measures, the chances of asbestos exposure are higher, putting the lives of workers at risk.

An inquest has heard that a former electrician in Ipswich died after exposure to asbestos during his professional career. Christopher Abrey, 80, made a statement before his death in December 2017, setting out how he had never been warned about the dangers of working around asbestos by his employers, or provided with personal protective equipment, such as a mask. Unfortunately, by the time Mr Abrey was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the disease had progressed to the point where chemotherapy was not judged to be a viable option for treatment. Sadly, Mr Abrey passed away just 9-months after his diagnosis.

The family of a man who died from mesothelioma in 2017 have vowed to raise awareness around asbestos-related illnesses in his memory, by taking part in Edinburgh’s 2018 Marathon Festival, and using the opportunity to also raise money for a local asbestos charity. Willie Vidler, an electrician, showed no noticeable symptoms of illness until August 2017 when, aged 76 at the time and still working part-time, he visited his GP complaining of breathlessness. His diagnosis came as a shock to his family, as he had always been a fit and active man, followed by his sad death, just three months later. His daughter, Katheryn Dick, thought that he might have been exposed to asbestos when working on the construction of Cockenzie Power Station, decades ago. She said: “Despite the fact companies knew about asbestos, nothing was done to protect workers like dad. We want to raise awareness of this condition and that people are still being diagnosed with asbestos-related illness today.”

Mesothelioma UK have opened their new headquarters in Birstall, Leicestershire, in January 2018. The national charity, which provides support to those diagnosed with this asbestos-related disease, and their families, is committed to supporting research into treatment and care, as well as offering practical advice and help to sufferers and their loves ones. The new centre has been opened in order to enable the organisation to grow and provide improved levels of support and information across the whole of the UK.

If you, or a member of your family, have been affected by an asbestos-related illness and would like to find access to support services or discuss your options, please get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable asbestos claim team.