Asbestos-related diseases kill around 5,000 people a year according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Known as an industrial disease, conditions developed through exposure to asbestos can take decades to appear, and often when they do, the diseases are incurable, such as the asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma.  While the use of asbestos in new construction is now banned, many existing buildings in the UK still have the material within them.  To help raise awareness of these illnesses and highlight where asbestos can be found, we have compiled a roundup of some of the most recent asbestos-related news from the around the UK.

The I News reported that pupils from a school in Sunderland had to be ‘fumigated’ and ‘hosed down’ by emergency services after it was feared they had been exposed to asbestos when strong winds lifted ceiling tiles made of the deadly material after bad weather hit the school.  This account came just weeks after a government report found that asbestos in schools was still a ‘serious’ problem and a potential threat to children’s health.

It was reported in Gloucestershire Live that more than £500,000 has been paid in compensation to those who have suffered asbestos exposure in Gloucestershire schools.  A total of six school employees and ex-pupils lodged legal claims against the authority between 2011 and 2015.  The information came to light through a freedom of information request.

BBC Scotland has reported that Stirling Council was fined £10,500 for ignoring warnings for nine years about asbestos in the basement of their headquarters.  Three surveys were carried out between 2003 and 2011, recommending that the asbestos should be removed as soon as possible and the affected areas cleaned and decontaminated.  However, no action was taken and no warnings were issued to employees.  In 2012, council employees were sent down to the affected basement to give the space a deep clean, without the appropriate safety gear, the court heard.  A council spokeswoman said: “Following the discovery of potential asbestos exposure and the service of Improvement Notices in 2012, the council responded quickly and professionally, cooperating fully with the HSE investigation and putting in place measures to mitigate the risk to employees.  The council has offered support to all staff potentially affected by this matter.”

A man from Suffolk died aged 82 after being first exposed to asbestos during his time in National Service as a young man.  John Gant was called up and worked as a motor vehicle mechanic, during which time he was exposed to asbestos dust.  Doctors confirmed that he was suffering from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure.  The Assistant Suffolk coroner, Kevin McCarthy, recorded a conclusion that Mr Gant died as a result of an industrial disease.

The diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease can be devastating for both the victim and their family.  If you need compassionate advice on claims regarding asbestos-related illness, either for yourself or on behalf of someone else, contact us on 01332 897 222 or click here to send us a message.