Lawyer Asks UK To Remember ‘Often Forgotten Victims’ Of Deadly Asbestos Dust

Specialist Speaks Out On Action Mesothelioma Day


A LAWYER has spoken out on a day when the UK remembers the victims of asbestos related disease, asking that people don’t forget the far reaching impact the deadly material can have on families, tearing them apart.

Traditionally a disease that was known to claim the lives of industrial workers, the numbers of mesothelioma deaths among women has increased more rapidly than the increase among men over the last ten years.

In 2008 the numbers of men lost to asbestos disease was 1,865 - 35 per cent higher than the number in 1999 - whereas the number of female deaths, 384, was a staggering 68 per cent higher.

The timely reminder from leading lawyer and asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell, Adrian Budgen, comes on  Action Mesothelioma Day (Friday July 1st)  - an annual event that raises awareness of the threat posed by the asbestos related cancer, and remembers those who have suffered as a result of it.

To draw attention to ‘the often forgotten victims of asbestos related disease’ Budgen is reiterating Irwin Mitchell’s calls for the Government to end the uncertainty of where asbestos is located in the UK  by implementing a survey of all public buildings in the country.

He says the survey should:

  • Outline which buildings contain asbestos, particularly schools and hospitals to protect the most vulnerable
  • Say which of those buildings are in a potentially dangerous condition
  • Identify a long-term asbestos management plan which should be implemented as a priority

Commenting on the legacy of asbestos in the UK, Budgen said: “Asbestos has long been associated with heavy industry, such as ship-building, but sadly we are seeing an increasing number of people from other sectors - such as health and education – falling victim to diseases like Mesothelioma. There has also been a significant rise in the number of people who have come into contact with asbestos in public buildings who are seeking legal advice.”
Budgen goes on to say that many people who didn’t come into direct contact with asbestos in an industrial setting – like teachers and hospital workers – were exposed to asbestos in their workplaces which were built using the material in the post war years.

He continues: “Over the years, as asbestos containing materials began to deteriorate and crumble, many UK workers were inhaling the lethal fibres as they went about their daily tasks, completely unaware of the dangers they were facing, putting them at risk of developing an asbestos related disease.

“The rising numbers of ‘white collar workers’ who are going on to suffer  from mesothelioma highlights the need for a proper record of which public buildings –whether they are council offices, hospitals or schools – contain asbestos to prevent future, needless tragedies.”

Budgen goes on to urge the Government to establish an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) which would help victims injured at work who find out, when they come to make a claim for compensation against their employer, that the company they worked for either did not have insurance cover in place or the insurer cannot be traced making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to achieve justice.

He added: “Setting up an ELIB would provide invaluable support to people left fatally injured or ill through the fault of their employer. Money can’t buy your health back of course, but having an insurance fund to provide financial support to asbestos disease victims and their families, in cases where no insurer can be traced, would at least be a safety net.”