HSE Releases Figures For 2008
A national industrial illness lawyer has today voiced ‘serious concerns’ about the number of people still dying after negligent exposure to asbestos and called for renewed efforts to secure justice for mesothelioma sufferers as new statistics show that the death rate has almost tripled in the last 20 years.
The call came from Adrian Budgen, head of asbestos related disease law at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, as the Health and Safety Executive released the statistics for mesothelioma deaths nationally during 2008.
The latest national figures revealed that 2,249 people died of the fatal asbestos-related cancer in 2008, up from 2,156 for the previous year.
In Yorkshire, the male death rate per million people was 58.2 deaths for the period from 2006-2008 – a rate that is at its highest point since the figures started in 1982. Yorkshire also had the second highest ratio of female deaths in the country at 14.6 deaths per million people.
Budgen said: “Projecting these statistics forward it is expected that the mesothelioma death rate will continue to rise, peaking in around 2016. Until after this time we will continue to see the devastation of asbestos on victims and their families as the number of fatalities continues to rise year on year.
“Irwin Mitchell has handled hundreds of mesothelioma cases and continues to the see the impact of asbestos on people’s lives all over the country. Each year we are seeing an increasing number of women affected by this dreadful disease. The disease, which is fast-acting and incurable, can cruelly lie dormant for decades before taking hold of the sufferer.
“One of the most upsetting things is that most of the people affected by the condition were negligently exposed to asbestos by employers who knew the risks associated with the material, yet continued to put the lives of their workforce at risk.
“Had adequate protective equipment been provided these deaths could have been prevented.”
The newly released mesothelioma statistics figures prompted legal experts such as Budgen to call again for the formation of an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) that will provide a source of comfort to asbestos exposure victims who are unable to trace an insurer for their former employer.
He said: “Too many victims of negligent exposure to the deadly dust now, and in the future face dying without ever knowing if their families will receive financial security.”