Asbestos News July 2016

Asbestos Removal Company Kent “All About Asbestos” – Latest News Compilation

All About Asbestos offer asbestos removal, asbestos testing and sampling throughout Kent. For more information regarding our asbestos removal services in Kent please telephone 01843 600765. Here is the latest news for asbestos:

General Motors sentenced following asbestos contamination

As reported in SHP Online on 12th July 2016:

General Motors UK Ltd has been fined £120,000 after it was discovered that asbestos boarding panels had contaminated a site.

The motor company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after work being undertaken at its North Road, Ellesmere Port site in 2014 exposed contractors to risks associated with asbestos.

The HSE investigation found that during work to replace high pressure hot water boilers with gas burners in the company’s paint unit, suspected asbestos insulating boards (AIB) were discovered beneath external cladding on the stores building.

Contractors carrying out the refurbishment had submitted a risk assessment and method statement for the work which was originally due to traverse a roof.

When the location of the new pipework was changed to the side of the building no review of the risk assessment for the job, specifically in relation to asbestos was undertaken. Subsequent sampling confirmed the presence of asbestos.

On the day the suspected boards were discovered the asbestos register was not fully available to the contractor to allow them to check whether the boards contained asbestos. No direct instruction was given by General Motors to the contractor to stop the work to prevent any AIB being disturbed. The work, including the removal and cutting of holes in AIB board, continued without suitable precautions.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard no assessment of the risk was undertaken by General Motors to determine if the work was notifiable or licensed asbestos work. On completion of the work licensed contractors were employed to conduct a clean-up and decontamination programme of the roof and in the stores.

General Motors UK Ltd, of Osborne Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to a single breach of Section 3 (1) the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £ 11,779 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: “Asbestos kills around 5,000 workers each year; this is more than the number killed on UK roads. Asbestos can be present within any premises built or refurbished before the year 2000.

“Whenever asbestos containing materials are found to be present, companies have a legal duty to document and implement an Asbestos Management Plan which includes measures to adequately control the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.”

If you are concerned that you have asbestos in your building call us and we can conduct an asbestos survey. 01843 600765

Asbestos victims remembered at annual Glasgow memorial service

As reported in the Glasgow Evening Times on the 2nd July 2016:

Families of Scots who have died from asbestos-related conditions have remembered their loved ones at a special memorial.

The event, which is held every year on July 1, was organised by Glasgow-based Clydeside Action on Asbestos.

Charity chairwoman Phyllis Craig, MBE, was one of the organisers of this year’s memorial at the Provand’s Lordship memorial garden on Castle Street.

She said: “Each year we hold a memorial but this year’s event has a special significance as it is being held on Action Mesothelioma Day.
“Each year, the numbers attending our memorial increases…all of whom have lost a partner, a mother or father, a close relative or a friend.

“We must remember them and send a strong message that the legacy of extensive use of asbestos in the UK continues to blight our communities.

“This is not something that belongs in the past or that can be ignored.

“We will not allow it to be ignored, and events like this not only help to raise awareness of the damage caused by asbestos, but provide a place where people can come together, support each other and share some time with others who have also experienced loss.”

John Curran lost his father to mesothelioma in 2013, and travelled with nine relatives from Ayrshire to attend the service.

He said: “My dad was only 66 when he died, and he left us too early.

“Our family have been robbed of our life with him and he is sorely missed.

“We can go to his grave every day to remember, but we go to the memorial honour him.

“My father and thousands of others died because they went to work and was not given any protection or warning about just how dangerous asbestos was.

“Our family cannot forget, and our country should not forget.

“The memorial means a lot to our family because it allows us to honour not just my father, but everyone who has lost their life to asbestos.”

Councillor Nina Baker has spoken to families who have been affected by an asbestos related disease and supports the need for an annual memorial.

She said more people “are being diagnosed than ever before”.

She added: “We have a duty to stop on this important day to remember those who have died from an illness that could have been avoided if employers had acted in the interests of their employees rather than in the interests of their business. It is a powerful reminder of the damage that can be caused if profit is put before people.”

Jan Devlin, Macmillan Mesothelioma Specialist Nurse [supported by Mesothelioma UK], at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth hospital added: “As the only Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist in Scotland, I see daily the impact that a diagnosis of mesothelioma has on the person with the condition and on their family.

“My priority is to ensure that support and information is available from diagnosis onwards.

“Clydeside Action on Asbestos provide a unique source of support and advice to the person following diagnosis, and the memorial is a much needed way of continuing that support once someone has died.”

Be safe, not sorry – if you are unsure if you have asbestos in your property, contact us to arrange asbestos testing.

Asbestos Facts – Did You Know…

Steve McQueen dies from asbestos exposureThe name Steve McQueen conjure up images of the glamorous actor at work and play. What is perhaps less well known is that his death at the young age of 50 was as a result of the terminal asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive form of cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

Asbestos-exposed workers still owed compensation

As reported in The Belfast Telegraph 5th July 2016:

Symptoms usually manifest some 20 to 40 years after the exposure and it is possible that McQueen was exposed to asbestos whilst serving in the US Marines as a young man aboard various military ships where he recalled removing asbestos lagging from pipes.

Action Mesothelioma Day is an annual day dedicated by the British Lung Foundation ( and others to raising funds and awareness of the condition. Throughout the UK, mesothelioma rates remain stubbornly high at in or around 2,500 per annum and, with no sign of any decline on the horizon, the importance of medical research cannot be emphasised enough.

Northern Ireland, with its extensive history of shipbuilding, has not escaped the legacy of industrial asbestos use. Whilst we live in an age where health and safety considerations are rightly paramount, it is easy to forget this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Up to and including the late Seventies and beyond, many workers throughout heavy industry and ship building in Northern Ireland were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis in the workplace (primary exposure) without any or adequate protective equipment and without proper or effective warning of the dangers posed by exposure to asbestos. Moreover, many workers may have inadvertently exposed their families to the dangers of asbestos fibres by bringing their asbestos-laden overalls home to be cleaned, causing secondary exposure. Asbestos usage was not confined to heavy industry but has also been discovered in school buildings and prefabricated social housing

The modern world has a short attention span, and viewed in this context, historical asbestos exposure might be forgotten. However, it is worth thinking for a moment that, as mentioned above, until comparatively recently, the men and women who built our ships, factories and railways did so in conditions that were fraught with risk – and tragically, they continue to pay the price.

Whilst compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions, such as asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques can be secured from negligent employers, if insurance cover can be identified, the Government also operates a compensation scheme in the event that a personal claim is not possible – for example, if insurance cover was not in place and the negligent employer is no longer in existence.

For more information on any services related to asbestos in Kent please telephone us on 01843 600765