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I joined Irwin Mitchell as a solicitor in 2005 and became a Partner in 2011. I began my career at Irwin Mitchell specialising exclusively in mesothelioma and other asbestos related disease claims, before developing an expertise in the field of other industrial diseases, including occupational asthma, upper limb disorders, hand arm vibration syndrome and work related cancers.
I regularly lecture on behalf of the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Birmingham University and I have been a Trustee of the West Midlands Hazards Trust since 2006.
"Thousands of people still die each year in the UK as a direct result of being made to work in unsafe conditions. Health and safety has come a long way in recent years but the figures show there is still much to do.
“Sometimes they are the victims of tragic but avoidable accidents, or, as with many of our clients, they were exposed to asbestos or other harmful substances by their employers many years ago and have, in most cases, been made to suffer terribly as a result.”
Exposure to dust affects hundreds of people every year and it is clearly an area where measures need to be taken as exposure is avoidable.
“These latest studies indicate that there is a lot more work to be done to understand the impact workplace exposure to dust has on the development of COPD among employees.
“It is crucial that more industry-specific studies are conducted to better characterise the effects of dust exposure in an ageing workforce, particularly in industries where retirement is postponed, as a longer career can lead to more years of exposure to dust, increasing the possibility of workers developing life-limiting conditions.
“In our work we have represented a number of people who have developed a wide range of illnesses as a result of exposure to dust at work and hope that further studies will lead to employers taking a greater responsibility for keeping workers safe from exposure.
Health and safety regulations are in place for very good reasons and clearly companies need to take their responsibilities for the safety of staff seriously.
“This means providing clear working guidelines, monitoring the health of employees and adhering to recommendations made by the HSE. Clearly, there were a number of failures in this process at Asset International Ltd.
“it is disappointing to learn of the disregard for the health and wellbeing of these employees. The kind of injuries staff at the firm suffered can be debilitating for victims and the problems they are now suffering could have easily been avoided had the correct procedures been in place.
Prolonged exposure to dust in the workplace can cause a range of serious diseases that cause victims a great deal of pain and suffering.
“Often in our work we represent individuals who sadly were not provided with the correct protective equipment, or warnings about the dangers of exposure to mineral dust. Exposure to dust affects hundreds of people every year and it is clearly an area where measures need to be taken as exposure is avoidable.
“A pan-industry approach, as outlined by the IOSH, is a welcome move and we hope that all industries where employees may be exposed to dust can work together to improve safety standards and reduce the number of people affected by occupational cancer.
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