Firms Across East Midlands Urged To Help Tackle Issue
Asbestos specialists at national law firm Irwin Mitchell have urged businesses in the East Midlands and across the UK to give their support to a new campaign designed to improve understanding of the deadly material and reduce the devastating number of lives affected by it every year.
The experts have welcomed a scheme launched by the Health and Safety Executive to encourage firms to pledge to offer free courses on asbestos and the terrible consequences that exposure can have on many people.
A target of 4,000 hours of free training has been set, with the figure reflecting the number of deaths in Britain each year from asbestos-related diseases including the terminal cancer mesothelioma – a condition which claimed the lives of over 140 people in the East Midlands in 2008 alone.
Adrian Budgen, partner and head of the national asbestos disease litigation team at Irwin Mitchell, which has a consulting office in Leicester, said: “Exposure to asbestos is often strongly linked to industrial environments and the East Midlands has a strong legacy in this respect related to rail carriage construction and power stations.
“Asbestos is regarded as the biggest occupational killer of all time and, as these figures show, it claims the lives of literally thousands of people in the UK every year.
“What is particularly shocking that asbestos and its related diseases is that, in many of the cases we deal with, employers were aware of the risks related to the material but failed to act to ensure their workforce, their families and the general public were protected.
“It is too late for many people, but the HSE’s new campaign on this issue is a positive step to ensuring lessons can be learnt from the past in order to protect the workers of today and the future from the potentially devastating risks.
“We would urge any companies with expertise in this area to pledge their support to this campaign and ensure help with the effort to raise greater awareness of the need to protect workers from the dangers of asbestos.”