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Workers’ Memorial Day ‘An Important Time’ To Reflect On Tragic Legacy Of Asbestos

Latest HSE Figures Show Over 950 Mesothelioma Deaths In Lancashire Since 1981


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have described Workers’ Memorial Day as an ‘important time’ to reflect on the dangers of asbestos, after new HSE figures highlighted the shocking number of deaths linked to exposure to the substance.

Workers’ Memorial Day is April 28th and is a day to ‘remember the dead and to fight for the living’ by paying respects to those who have died as a result of their employment and continuing to improve health and safety standards in the workplace. Events taking place to mark the day include a memorial and remembrance service in Chorley on April 27th, and a memorial service and march in Preston.

Irwin Mitchell is using the day to shine a light on the issue of asbestos, after figures released by the Health and Safety Executive showed that the number of deaths in the UK linked to the material in 2015 stood at more than 3,000, with the vast majority being caused by mesothelioma.

However, inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres can also cause lung cancer and other serious diseases, including asbestosis and plural thickening. According to the latest HSE’s figures available, there were 467 asbestosis deaths in the UK in 2015.

Irwin Mitchell has provided legal support to a vast number of people across Lancashire whose lives have been affected by asbestos, including those diagnosed with related illnesses or individuals who have sadly lost a loved one to such a condition.

Dominic Hemsi, a Partner and asbestos-related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Workers’ Memorial Day is an important moment to reflect on the terrible impact that asbestos has had on so many lives and these recent HSE figures highlight the sad reality that we see day to day in our work.

“That reality is many people are dying due to asbestos exposure in the past. The majority of those were exposed to asbestos at work, and were completely unaware of the dangers of the hazardous material.

“Many of these deaths were entirely preventable and resulted overwhelmingly from negligence or a breach of statutory duty on the part of employers who failed to fulfil their legal obligation to provide safe working conditions for their workforce.”
Dominic Hemsi, Partner

According to the HSE figures, the number of deaths caused by mesothelioma between 1981 and 2015 in Lancashire stood at 968, 791 of which were males.

Dominic added: 

Expert Opinion
“Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive and incurable cancer and it causes a great deal of suffering to those affected by it. That’s why it is so important that we work to get justice for them, as well as answers for how and where they were exposed to asbestos.

“The first Asbestos Regulations to manage the use of asbestos became law in 1931, so to learn that people were exposed to the fibres much later is very upsetting for the individuals or the families who come to us.

“Now we are fully aware of the dangers, and fatalities are regularly publicised, it seems only right that robust measures are put in place to ensure when the time comes, the removal of this potentially deadly substance is managed properly.”
Dominic Hemsi, Partner

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in asbestos-related disease claims.