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Surviving asbestos A United Nations (UN) treaty on the control of toxic exports has been ‘utterly discredited’, unions have said. The charge came after a bid to add chrysotile asbestos – the only form of the cancer-causing fibre still traded – to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of the most hazardous substances was blocked for a sixth time. Hazards 138, June 2017

Friendly fibre Britain has history on asbestos. It has the highest death rates from asbestos cancers in the world. It is also home to some of the industry’s most relied-upon scientists. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill investigates. Hazards 133, January-March 2016

Asbestos figures Europe is in the midst of an asbestos disease epidemic – and it is far worse than previously thought. A new report has put deaths in the European Union caused by exposure to asbestos at three times previous estimates. And the UK tops the fatalities list. Hazards 132, October-December 2015

Lab rats Some scientific hired guns try to hide their industry ties; others flaunt them. Either way cash-for-science can be very bad news for your health. Hazards follows the money.
Hazards special online report December 2013

Dust storm A UK conference of dust exposure experts is attracting unwanted attention, reports Hazards editor Rory O’Neill. Professor Ken Donaldson, the scientific chair of Inhaled Particles XI, has been identified in a potential asbestos cancer 'crime-fraud' controversy and accused of having undeclared links to the industry.
Hazards 123, July-September 2013

Moral fibre A Swiss billionaire and a Belgian baron have been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter. After a stunningly successful grassroots campaign for justice, the former Eternit executives were convicted by an Italian court of causing the asbestos-related deaths of more than 3,000 people. Hazards 118, April-June 2012

ILO sounds the ‘death knell for asbestos’
A statement from a United Nations body confirming its desire to see the end of asbestos use worldwide is the ‘death knell’ for a substance which claims one life every five minutes around the clock, the global union confederation ITUC has said.
Hazards 'green jobs' blog, 23 September 2010

Target Asia
Canada increased its asbestos exports last year. Asia is a key target market. But the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat is not letting the deadly trade go unopposed. A Hazards photofile.
Hazards 109, January-March 2010

Asbestos threats
It’s not enough that the asbestos industry is using lies and spin to push is deadly product. Now it is resorting to threats and the courts to harass its critics.
Hazards 103, July-September 2008

Stop! Asbestos!
The asbestos factories have shut, but the asbestos hasn’t gone away. A new HSE/TUC guide advises safety reps how to keep workplaces safe from asbestos – including clearing out when there is a serious risk.
Hazards 97, February 2007 [pdf]

ILO to promote global asbestos ban
The International Labour Office (ILO) is to pursue a global ban on asbestos, the world’s biggest ever industrial killer. The landmark decision came with the adoption of a resolution on 14 June 2006 at the ILO conference in Geneva and followed a high level union campaign. Hazards asked Jukka Takala, director of ILO’s SafeWork programme, what ILO will now do to help make the world asbestos-free.
Hazards interview, June 2006

Asbestos diseases kill thousands in the UK every year. But these are not just statistics, they are all stories of pain, hardship and bereavement.
Hazards 94, May 2006 [pdf]

Selling death
Global asbestos plc blocked a deal that would have made it more difficult to unload asbestos on the developing world. It bought scientists and column inches in national papers. And it is killing hundreds of thousands each year. Hazards exposes the global asbestos industry's desperate battle for survival - at any price.
Hazards 85, January-March 2004

Other features

Don't mess with the unions
A global union campaign has seen James Hardie's rapid descent from darling of the stockmarket to company in crisis, facing protests and legal action on three continents. Hazards 88, October-December 2004

Union declaration
Joint Declaration from the International Building Trade Union Federations, made at the Global Asbestos Congress, Tokyo, November 2004.
Full declaration

Asbestos interests block global safety move
Asbestos producer nations have blocked the addition of chrysotile (white) asbestos to the UN list of highly dangerous substances that cannot be exported to developing countries without their knowledge and agreement.
Hazards update, 18 September 2004


International Ban Asbestos Secretariat

IBAS international listing of victim support groups

Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK

Ban Asbestos Canada

Committee to Ban Asbestos in America (CBAA) The Committee to Ban Asbestos in America (CBAA) was formed by public health advocates to ban asbestos and fund federal medical and educational programs in the United States.

Roger Lowe Campaign

Clydebank Asbestos Group

Damning brochure
Ban Asbestos Canada has produced a hard hitting brochure to be handed out at Workers' Memorial Day 2008 events. High Resolution versions of the brochure are available from the BAC website in Black and White [
pdf] and Colour [pdf]


Britain: Asbestos giant fails in latest bid to keep deadly secrets
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a prominent asbestos victims’ advocate should be given copies of key documents that could reveal what an asbestos industry giant really knew about the risks posed by its deadly product. The latest ruling in favour of Graham Dring, on behalf of the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum UK, requires Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited, a global manufacturer of asbestos products, to hand over documents used in a trial in which Cape was a defendant.
Leigh Day news release. Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum. Risks 860. 4 August 2018

Britain: Unite concern at Aberdeen school asbestos exposures
Warnings from union safety reps went unheeded before asbestos was disturbed at an Aberdeen school, Unite has said. Concerns have been raised that workers may have exposed to the carcinogenic fibre at Bridge of Don Academy during holiday maintenance work.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. STV News. Risks 859. 28 July 2018

Global: Russian asbestos exports display Trump seal of approval
The US president’s long-time love affair with asbestos has garnered a literal stamp of approval from a Russian mining company. Uralasbest, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asbestos, has taken to adorning pallets of its product with a seal of Trump’s face, along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.”
Uralasbest facebook page. EWG/ADAO news release. Leigh Day news release. The Guardian. Washington Post. Video: Donald Trump extolling the virtues of asbestos, MSNBC. Risks 858. 21 July 2018

Britain: Trio of defunct firm’s directors pay for asbestos failures
Three directors of a now-liquidated waste management company have been sentenced after a series of “appalling” criminal safety and environmental failures, exposing the public and the environment to asbestos. George Thomas Talbot was disqualified as a director for a period of seven years and was fined £46,500 after pleaded guilty to a series of criminal safety and environmental offences; his son Anthony Thomas Talbot was disqualified as a director for a period of four years and fined £4,800 and another son, Stephen, was fined £6,000.
HSE news release. Risks 858. 21 July 2018

Britain: Number of asbestos deaths from mesothelioma up again
HSE also published figures on deaths from one occupational cancer. These show the annual toll from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma continues to climb, counter to HSE’s repeated predictions. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, there were 2,595 deaths, up 46 on the preceding year when 2,549 mesothelioma deaths were recorded.
HSE news release and mesothelioma death figures for 2016. Risks 587. 14 July 2018

Global: Korean activists urge global asbestos pushers to stop it
The Ban Asbestos Network Korea (BANKO) held rallies in front of the Russian, Kazakh and Chinese embassies in Seoul on 3 July, calling on the three countries to stop production of asbestos. BANKO delivered a letter to each of the three embassies, asking for their cooperation in halting the mining of the known human carcinogen.
Yonhap news agency. Risks 856. 7 July 2018

Global: Killer asbestos industry feeling the summertime blues
A report from the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) has said the asbestos industry is facing unprecedented attacks around the world. IBAS said the industry’s ‘summertime blues’ include high profile criticism of the asbestos industry in Australia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the United Kingdom.
IBAS news report. Risks 856. 7 July 2018

Britain: Ignoring damaged asbestos materials led to fine
Aquapac Limited, a company that manufactures and distributes furniture, has been fined £6,000 for failing to properly assess the risk from exposure to damaged asbestos containing materials in its premises. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that, during an inspection on 6 August 2014, concerns were raised by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector about significant damage to what appeared to be asbestos containing materials that were encasing the structural columns and beams of the premises.  
HSE news release. Risks 853. 16 June 2018

Britain: Firms fined for serious asbestos failings after tip-off
A residential property management company and a specialist contractor have been fined after a resident raised concerns about soffit replacement work carried out on the guttering on three blocks of flats in London. Squaredeal UPVC & Renewables Limited was fined £18,500 and ordered to pay £5,607.90 in costs after pleading guilty to three criminal breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012; Wildheart Residential Management Limited was fined £8,000 with £3,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a single criminal breach of the same regulations.  
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 851. 2 June 2018

Global: Asbestos industry told ‘the end is nigh!’
A global network of 30 trade union, labour, environmental, academic and occupational disease victims’ advocacy organisations has told the asbestos industry its days are numbered. In an open letter headed ‘the end is nigh!’, groups including the global building unions’ federation BWI, the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) and the Asia Monitor Resource Centre note: “As this toxic technology is consigned to the history books, a ‘just transition policy’ for redundant asbestos miners and affected communities should be implemented as a matter of urgency.”
Open letter (also in Russian). Risks 850. 26 May 2018

Global: Dramatic fall in asbestos production worldwide
There has been a dramatic drop in asbestos production worldwide, with just three countries continuing to mine the deadly fibre. Brazil’s 2017 ban on asbestos production and use means only Russia, China and Kazakhstan are now mining asbestos.
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat analysis. Risks 848. 12 May 2018

Britain: Asbestos bosses who forged documents escape jail
The bosses of an asbestos removal company who forged documents to fraudulently obtain an asbestos licence from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have escaped jail. Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Excavation and Contracting (UK) Ltd used both forged medical certificates and forged asbestos training certificates for their asbestos removal operatives.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 845. 21 April 2018

Britain: Specialist asbestos surveyor missed asbestos
A specialist asbestos surveying company has been fined after failing to spot asbestos at a demolition site. Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how EAS Asbestos Limited was commissioned to conduct refurbishment and demolition surveys by Mercer Brother Limited and wrongly stated in their surveys that asbestos was only present in the cement roof sheets, there were no areas that could not be accessed, and that there was no asbestos insulation board present in the garages.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 845. 21 April 2018

Britain: New warning on asbestos deaths linked to site work
Nearly one in four UK construction workers believe they may have been exposed to asbestos fibres, placing them at higher risk of contracting deadly cancers later in life, a major safety organisation has warned. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the organisation for safety professionals, says with potentially half a million buildings containing this lethal mineral, employees across many sectors risk being exposed every day.
IOSH news release and No Time to Lose campaign. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Britain: Academy schools failure to manage asbestos exposed
The continuing presence of asbestos in the majority of schools and academies is a national scandal - putting the lives of pupils and staff at risk, unions have warned. Figures released by the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) in conjunction with the campaigner Lucie Stephens and Rachel Reeves MP, reveal a ‘shocking disparity’ in asbestos management across Multi Academy Trusts (MATs).
NEU news release and Asbestos MAT FOI report. Public Accounts Committee news release. Morning Star. TES. Nursery World. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Global: Asbestos bans don’t hurt economies
Claims that asbestos bans will be damaging to the economies of countries making the move are not true, a study has found. Scientists from the World Health Organisation’s Europe office, the University of Sydney and a US economic consulting group found economies quickly recovered from any downturn and that countries persisting with asbestos use could expect ‘substantial costs’ as a result.
Lucy P Allen, Jorge Baez, Mary Elizabeth C Stern, Ken Takahashi and Frank George. Trends and the Economic Effect of Asbestos Bans and Decline in Asbestos Consumption and Production Worldwide, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, volume 15, number 3, page 531, 2018. Risks 843. 7 April 2018

Britain: School asbestos job put workers at risk
A construction company has been fined after it carried out unsafe and unlicensed asbestos removal during refurbishment works at Dursley junior school. Cheltenham Magistrates Court heard how, in October 2016, RF Gardiner Limited removed asbestos despite not having the appropriate licence to carry out the work.
HSE news release. Risks 842. 24 March 2018

Britain: Payout deal to asbestos victim will cover any emerging treatment
A Halifax man who suffers from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has received a settlement that includes an agreement to cover the cost of treatments that may not currently exist or be available yet. Solicitor Ian Toft, who represented James Casey, 63, said “with new treatments constantly in development but costs also on the rise, it ensures that our client will be able to benefit from whatever is required.”
Irwin Mitchell news release. Risks 842. 24 March 2018

Britain: GMB recovers damages after asbestos death
The family of a GMB member who died as a consequence of his work for asbestos companies has received £340,000 compensation. The member, whose name has not been released, was employed by Spousal (Midlands) Limited and Cape Darlington Limited as an apprentice lagger and then a lagger from 1967 through to 1976.
GMB news release. Risks 842. 24 March 2018

Laos: Meeting does ground work for plan to end asbestos use
Unions, government officials, health agencies and campaigners have met in Laos to coordinate a plan to ban asbestos. The workshop was organised by the country’s Ministry of Health, supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Union Aid Abroad -APHEDA, to discuss the development of a National Action Plan to ban the use of chrysotile asbestos – the only remaining form of asbestos in commercial use - and to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in the country.
APHEDA news release. Risks 840. 10 March 2018

Britain: Low level asbestos exposures ruling welcomed
The Court of Appeal has reset the threshold for asbestos-related cases, which could pave the way for thousands of potential claims. Caroline Pinfold, an industrial disease solicitor at London firm Fieldfisher, who represented asbestos widow Veronica Bussey, said: “These data that measured levels of asbestos fibres in the air have been wrongly applied by employers and their lawyers to deny or delay claimants the compensation they deserved.”
Law Society Gazette. Irwin Mitchell news release. Risks 839. 3 March 2018

Britain: Gas storage firm fined after 13 exposed to asbestos
The operator of a natural gas storage facility has been sentenced after 13 employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos fibres. SSE Hornsea Ltd pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,731.
HSE news release. Risks 834. 27 January 2018

Britain: Refurb job led to asbestos exposures on site
The principal contractor and site manager of a construction site in Derby city centre have been sentenced after workers were exposed to asbestos during refurbishment work. M&S Developments (Bemrose Court) Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,336; Kynersley Management Services Limited was fined £20,000 plus costs of £1,531.66; and site manager Adam Campbell was given a community order to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and told to pay costs of £1,531.66.
HSE news release. Derby Telegraph. Risks 834. 27 January 2018

HSE drops plans to cut asbestos medical checks
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has abandoned plans to reduce the period between medical examinations for asbestos workers after pressure from the TUC and unions including Unite and HSE inspectors’ union Prospect. Garry Graham, Prospect’s deputy general secretary commented: “Frequent medical checks for those engaged in the dangerous removal of asbestos from old buildings is vital to pick up any symptoms as early as possible,” adding: “We welcome the HSE seeing sense on this issue.”
Prospect news release. HSE consultation. Risks 834. 27 January 2018

Britain: Campaigners stop asbestos giant burying the deadly evidence 
The High Court has declared that secret historical documents that show how much the asbestos industry knew about an emerging occupational disease epidemic must be preserved and shared with parties not involved in the original litigation where their existence was first revealed. The documents held by building products giant Cape – previously an asbestos multinational – were due to be destroyed.
Leigh Day news release. Graham Dring v Cape Distribution Limited, Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited, Concept 70 Limited (and others) Aviva Plc, 5 December 2017. IBAS case summary. Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum. Risks 830. 16 December 2017

Brazil: Supreme Court bans asbestos
Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that all extraction, marketing and distribution of chrysotile asbestos must end. The court ruled the law that regulates mineral exploration in the country and allows the use of asbestos in a ‘controlled’ fashion was unconstitutional.
Brazil Monitor. Folha de S.Paulo. Risks 829. 9 December 2017

Britain: Don’t risk asbestos putting up school xmas decorations
With the approach of the festive season, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) has issued a reminder about putting up Christmas decorations safely in schools. The education unions making up JUAC are asking staff to ensure that Christmas decorations, children’s artwork and other materials are safety attached to ceilings and walls and are not attached to surfaces containing asbestos using pins or staples.
JUAC news release and briefing on xmas decorations and asbestos. Risks 828. 2 December 2017

Global: WHO says ban asbestos to end asbestos disease
The ‘most efficient’ way to eliminate asbestos diseases is to ban all use of asbestos, a new study has concluded. The research paper, which looked at ‘Barriers and facilitators to the elimination of asbestos related diseases’, was co-authored by experts from the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO).
Work cancer hazards blog.
Joanne Vincenten, Frank George, Marco Martuzzi, Peter Schröder-Bäck and Elizabet Paunovic. Barriers and Facilitators to the Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases—Stakeholders’ Perspectives, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, volume 14, number 10, 2017.
Lucy P Allen, Jorge Baez, Mary Elizabeth C Stern and Frank George. Asbestos-Economic Assessment of Bans and Declining Production and Consumption, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2017. Risks 825. 11 November 2017

Britain: Asbestos workers in danger from ‘watered down’ rules
Unite has warned that government proposals to water down ‘vital life-saving’ asbestos regulations could risk the health of asbestos workers. The union was commenting on Health and Safety Executive (HSE) proposals to reduce the frequency of medical checks on workers doing the highest risk asbestos work.
Unite news release. Risks 825. 11 November 2017

Britain: Figures reveal toll of asbestos in schools
Asbestos in schools is killing teachers, support staff and pupils and cuts to school funding can only make the situation worse, UNISON has said. The union said a recent Freedom of Information request by the Joint Union Asbestos Committee revealed that at least 335 primary and secondary school teachers died of mesothelioma in Britain between 1980 and 2015, along with eight school secretaries, eight nursery nurses, 18 school midday assistants and 24 teaching assistants between 2003 and 2015.
UNISON news release. Joint Union Asbestos Committee report and website. Risks 823. 28 October 2017

Australia: New asbestos walk out at Opera House renovation
Electrical workers have stopped work on the massive renovation of the Sydney Opera House, refusing to continue with the installation of cabling after receiving confirmation that potentially deadly asbestos had again been located in work areas. “This issue was first identified two months ago, with SafeWork NSW giving builder Laing O'Rourke a weak slap on the wrist,” ETU secretary Dave McKinley said, adding: “The company had seven days to remove the asbestos or eliminate the threat to workers through appropriate safety measures and have clearly failed to do so.”
ETU news release. The Music. ABC News. Risks 821. 14 October 2017

Britain: Unlicensed waste contractor fined for asbestos jobs
A waste removal contractor from Bridgend has been fined after undertaking asbestos removal work at two locations without the required licence. Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard how on 1 September and 7 November 2016 Mark John Gibson, who advertised as asbestos removal service All-Gone Waste, was contracted to remove asbestos containing materials from properties in Pont Y Clun and Dyffryn Chapel, Caerau.
HSE news release. Risks 820. 7 October 2017

Britain: Head believed school exposure caused asbestos cancer
A retired headteacher died of an asbestos cancer she believed was caused by exposure to the deadly fibre during her teaching career. A 21 September inquest at Exeter’s County Hall heard how Cathy Kowan, who was living in Exmouth at the time of her death, had varied jobs, but the majority was spent working in education.
Devon Live. Risks 819. 30 September 2017

USA: Deadly rise in US asbestos imports
Asbestos imports to the US nearly doubled in 2016, reversing a long-term decline, latest figures have shown. “Opponents of an asbestos ban have long argued that asbestos use is shrinking in the United States, but now we know just the opposite is true,” said Linda Reinstein, president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).
ADAO news release. Risks 818. 23 September 2017

Britain: GMB warning to council over asbestos exposures
A London council has been warned it needs to act now or face an official safety probe after the union GMB discovered workers had been unwittingly exposed to asbestos. The union, which represents the workers employed as heating engineers by FM360, a subsidiary of Hounslow Council’s in-house trading company Lampton, said it understands the employees unknowingly sawed through asbestos when carrying out the work in a residential property, under the false impression that FM360 had carried out the relevant checks and surveys to identify the risk of exposure to asbestos.
GMB news release. Risks 816. 9 September 2017

Canada: Asbestos exposure comes at a very high price
Asbestos isn’t just the biggest industrial killer of all time, it is also a massive drain on the economy, new research has confirmed. Canadian researchers estimated the lifetime cost of newly diagnosed lung cancer and mesothelioma cases associated with occupational and para-occupational [typically exposed family members] asbestos exposure for the calendar year 2011, including healthcare, productivity and output, and quality of life costs.
Emile Tompa and others. The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma due to occupational and para-occupational asbestos exposure, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published Online First 29 July 2017. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-104173 Risks 814. 26 August 2017

Britain: ‘Cavalier’ asbestos boss evades jail
The director of a company that removed asbestos with hammers and used wet wipes to clean it up had “a cavalier attitude to safety”, a court has heard. Jeremy Uphill, the director of Sarum Asbestos Ltd, pleaded guilty to six charges of criminal negligence relating to work between 2012 and 2015 and was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court to a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
HSE news release. Salisbury Journal. Risks 814. 26 August 2017

Britain: Million pound fine after school asbestos crime
Three companies have been fined a total of more than £1m after workers were exposed to asbestos is a school that was still occupied by schoolchildren. A former trading division of contractor Balfour Beatty, its client and its demolition contractor have together been fined £1.27m after exposing workers to asbestos during a project to create new premises for an expanding primary school.
HSE release  TUC eradication guide  Unison press release. Risks 811. 5 August 2017

Britain: MP calls for ‘urgent action’ on school asbestos
A Labour MP has condemned government complacency on the ‘undeniable’ asbestos risk in the country’s schools, and has called for urgent action. Rachel Reeves said the lives of children and staff are being put at risk by the failure to remove the potentially deadly substance from schools.
GMB Politics blog. GMB news release. Risks 809. 22 July 2017

Britain: Union action on asbestos in schools ‘scandal’
The continuing presence of asbestos in our schools is a ‘scandal’, as is the ‘shocking’ lack of consistency in the way in which it is managed across the country, education unions have said.  The statement came from the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) ahead of its first national conference on 4 July.
ATL news release. NUT news release. Risks 807. 8 July 2017

Britain: Asbestos cancer kills single mum, 34
A young mum has become one of youngest to die of an asbestos-related disease at just 34 – but never found out how she contracted her cancer. Kirsty List died last month, leaving five-year-old daughter Aimee, and believed she may have been exposed to asbestos either while a pupil at school or when she worked as a barmaid.
The Express. The London Economic. Risks 807. 8 July 2017

Britain: New statistics reveal work’s deadly toll
Latest figures on deaths at work confirm the workplace remains a major killer. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual statistics on deaths in Great Britain resulting from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma and from fatalities at work show an overall increase on the previous year, with fatalities down from 147 to 137, but mesothelioma deaths up from 2,519 to 2,542.
HSE news release, statistics webpage and headline provisional fatality figures for 2016/17 and mesothelioma statistics. Risks 807. 8 July 2017

Ukraine: Asbestos ban puts pressure on producers
Ukraine’s government has announced its national ban on all asbestos use has come into force. The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), which has supported campaigns for a ban in countries across the globe, said the new regulations, which ban the use of all types of asbestos including chrysotile (white) asbestos, were achieved in the face of ‘fierce opposition’ from domestic and foreign asbestos lobbyists.
IBAS news release. Risks 806. 1 July 2017

Britain: Brexit minister ‘supports removing asbestos laws’
New Brexit minister Steve Baker has lobbied the government to weaken asbestos laws, Unite has revealed. The union says it is concerned by the minister’s ‘alarming’ position and is demanding that the government now provide ‘cast-iron guarantees’ that asbestos regulations won’t be watered down.
Unite news release. The Mirror. Risks 806. 1 July 2017

Global: UN agency makes new call for an asbestos ban
A United Nations agency has again added its voice to calls for a global asbestos ban. A new World Health Organisation (WHO) factsheet, released on 13 June at the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Ostrava, Czech Republic, notes “the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases it to stop using all forms of asbestos.”
Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases, World Health Organisation, 13 June 2017. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat blog. Risks 804. 17 June 2017

Britain: Union outrage after council workers exposed to asbestos
Fife Council must undertake an urgent ‘root and branch review’ of its workplace health and safety policies after seven staff members were exposed to deadly asbestos, a union has said. GMB Scotland said workers in the parks, streets and open spaces service were exposed when dealing with a fly tipping incident at Heathery Wood, but a ‘scandalous’ breakdown in communication at management and supervisory levels left staff unaware they were handling contaminated waste.
GMB Scotland news release. The Courier. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

Indonesia: Campaigners win recognition of asbestos diseases
The Indonesian authorities have for the first time recognised officially the existence of asbestos disease cases in the country. Indonesia had never before formally recognised a case of asbestosis, with sufferers routinely misdiagnosed with tuberculosis.
Inside Story. Risks 800. 20 May 2017

Britain: Labour pledges removal of asbestos from schools
A future Labour administration would ensure the phased removal of asbestos from schools, the party’s manifesto had said. The document, launched by Jeremy Corbyn on 16 May, notes: “Labour will also invest in new school buildings, including the phased removal of asbestos from existing schools.”
Labour Party Manifesto 2017. Risks 800. 20 May 2017

Global: UN treaty ‘discredited’ as asbestos lobby prevails
A United Nations (UN) treaty on the control of toxic exports has been ‘utterly discredited’, unions have said. The charge came after a bid to add chrysotile asbestos – the only form of the cancer-causing fibre still traded – to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of the most hazardous substances was blocked for a sixth time.
IndustriALL news release. Global Asbestos Action Alliance news release. Rotterdam Convention webpages. IBAS news report. RightOnCanada. Chemistry World. Risks 799. 13 May 2017

Britain: Phoenix firm evades £750k fine for asbestos crimes
A North London construction firm that put 200 workers at risk of asbestos exposure is unlikely to stump up any of the £750,000 fine imposed after the £10m a year business went into liquidation. Barroerock Construction Limited was prosecuted after repeated asbestos failings.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Kent Online. Risks 799. 13 May 2017

Britain: Asbestos review shows ‘shocking’ official complacency
An official review of how the UK’s workplace asbestos laws are operating has exposed the ‘shocking complacency’ of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the TUC has said. Hugh Robertson, the union body’s head of safety, said: “The fact that government and regulators see the status quo as the best option is a damning indictment of our health and safety system.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Post implementation review of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, HSE, 2017. Risks 799. 13 May 2017

Britain: Dusty overalls caused widow’s asbestos cancer
A woman who washed her electrician husband's work overalls has developed an incurable cancer brought on by inhaling asbestos dust from the clothes. Linda Coates, 64, from Newcastle has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Daily Mail.
Anyone who can help provide information about working conditions at Didcot Power Station in the 1980s, or at Woolman Ltd, NG Bailey and Co Ltd and NEI Parsons Ltd should email Amber Connolly at Irwin Mitchell or telephone 0191 279 0111. Risks 798. 6 May 2017

Global: ITUC calls for asbestos trade crackdown
Global union confederation ITUC has called for international action to stop the trade in deadly chrysotile asbestos. The union body says a key step would be for potent cause of cancer and other diseases to be included on the UN’s Rotterdam Convention list of particularly hazardous substances that must be accompanied by a health warning when exported.
ITUC news release. Rotterdam Convention Conference of the Parties, 24 April-2 May 2017. IndustriALL news release. Inside Story. RightOnCanada.ca
Sign the LabourStart ‘Stand with Rajendra’ petition  that will be presented to the Rotterdam Convention conference on 2 May 2017. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Firms fined over bar conversion asbestos failings
Two family run companies have been fined after admitting criminal health and safety failings at a site in Manchester, where they were carrying out a basement conversion. Manchester Crown Court heard how Hatters Taverns Limited had appointed sister company Hatters Hostel Limited as the main contractor for the basement conversion beneath a hostel in Manchester city centre.
HSE news release. Manchester Evening News. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Teachers call for action on asbestos mis-management
The ‘deeply worrying’ findings of research on asbestos risks in schools by the teaching union NUT confirm concerns that ‘a ticking time bomb’ is not being safely managed.  The union said a survey conducted last month found nearly 50 per cent of all respondents had not been told whether their school contains asbestos.
NUT news release, asbestos Edufats and asbestos conference motion comment. Schoolsweek. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Teachers call for action on asbestos mis-management
The ‘deeply worrying’ findings of research on asbestos risks in schools by the teaching union NUT confirm concerns that ‘a ticking time bomb’ is not being safely managed.  The union said a survey conducted last month found nearly 50 per cent of all respondents had not been told whether their school contains asbestos.
NUT news release, asbestos Edufats and asbestos conference motion comment. Schoolsweek. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Asbestos fine ‘is a lesson for all ship owners’
Seafarers’ union Nautilus has welcomed the prosecution of a shipping company that failed to act on a report warning of the presence of asbestos on one of its vessels. The enforcement action came after the union alerted authorities to the problem.
Nautilus news release. HM Coastguard blog. Bognor Regis Observer. Southern Daily Echo. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Firms fined for asbestos blunders
Two companies have been fined after unsafe asbestos work on a property in Leatherhead. Staines Magistrates’ Court heard how licensed asbestos removal contractor Kingsley Asbestos Services Limited (KAS) was subcontracted by Bourne Valley Construction Services Limited (BVCS) to carry out the work, but this was carried out without establishing the location, presence and extent of asbestos containing materials on site.
HSE news release. Risks 795. 8 April 2017

Global: Industry seeking to ‘sabotage’ asbestos controls
Unions should take action to stop the asbestos industry once again ‘sabotaging’ efforts to better control its toxic exports, the global union for the construction sector has said. BWI was speaking out ahead of a crucial conference to update the UN’s Rotterdam Convention list of especially hazardous substances subject to ‘prior informed consent’ (PIC) health warnings when they are exported.
BWI news release. Risks 794. 1 April 2017

Britain: Disturbed asbestos risk in many schools
Asbestos has been disturbed in schools in a way that could affect the health of staff and pupils on at least 90 separate occasions in the last five years. Freedom of Information requests by Lucie Stephens, who’s mum Sue died last year aged 68 of an asbestos cancer caused by exposures while working as a teacher, revealed councils had received reports of asbestos having been “disturbed” in schools on 93 occasions over five years, meaning “possible exposure” to teachers, builders, caretakers or pupils between 2011 and 2016.
Schools Week. TES.com. Asbestos in schools petition. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: Asbestos in schools conference, 4 July, Birmingham
The first Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) conference is to take place in Birmingham on 4 July and will investigate the dangers from asbestos in schools and how to protect pupils and staff. Speakers including Rachel Reeves MP, asbestos campaigners, trade unions, medical practitioners and representatives of the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Education.
Fee: £40. Further information from JUAC. Bookings: 0121 457 6150. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: Contractor fined for poor asbestos assessment
A Bedfordshire contractor has been fined after failing to carry out suitable assessment of the risks posed by asbestos removal work. Anthony West pleaded guilty to four criminal breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £2,970 and ordered to pay costs of £5,419.
HSE news release. Biggleswade Today. Risks 791. 11 March 2017

Britain: Teacher died of asbestos-related cancer
A former teacher from Kent who died of asbestos related cancer could have inhaled the fibres in the classrooms where she worked. Pearl Davis, 69, spent a decade working at schools in Gillingham, Chatham and Maidstone.
Kent Online. Risks 791. 11 March 2017

Britain: Asbestos exposure risk in one in five schools
Schoolchildren and teachers are being put at risk of asbestos exposure in around one in five schools across England, according to new government figures. A report from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) revealed 19 per cent of schools have not been safely managing asbestos risks and in more than 100 schools the situation has been so serious that the Department for Education (DfE) had to step in.
EFA schools asbestos data collection and management guidance. NASUWT news release. Schools Week. TES News. Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Britain: Asbestos closes university building for two years
Over 1,600 zoology staff and students have been moved out of Oxford University’s Tinbergen Building building for up to two years after asbestos was discovered. The TUC and unions have for years been campaigning for all asbestos in public buildings to be surveyed and recorded and for a programme of safe removal, and last year the TUC launched a ‘time to get rid of it’ asbestos guide for safety reps.
Oxford University news release. Cherwell. Leigh Day news release. BBC News Online.
TUC asbestos eradication campaign. Asbestos – time to get rid of it! TUC guide for safety representatives. Risks 789. 23 February 2017

Australia: Union warning on asbestos imports
A four-pillar plan to fight asbestos importation to Australia has been issued by unions. The move by UNIONS NSW came after revelations that an engineering company with a history of importing asbestos is refusing to remove the illegal building material. needs a zero tolerance approach to this deadly material.”
Unions NSW news release. Risks 788. 18 February 2017

Britain: Asbestos on husband’s overalls led to wife’s deadly cancer
A retired chef died as a result of an ‘industrial disease’ caused by exposure to asbestos on her mechanic husband’s work clothes, an inquest has concluded. Jill Moore of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma aged 71 on 11 November 2016.
East Anglian Daily Times. Newmarket Journal. The Mirror. Risks 788. 18 February 2017

Britain: More than £84m awarded by mesothelioma scheme
More than £84 million in compensation has been awarded to sufferers, or the families of those who have died, as part of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS), according to official statistics. The scheme, which is for mesothelioma victims who have been prevented from claiming compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer, was introduced after a high profile campaign by unions and occupational disease victims’ advocates.
DWP news release. Risks 788. 18 February 2017

Britain: High Court rules on mesothelioma ‘lost years’ 
A High Court ruling could mean higher payouts for the dependants of people who die from work diseases. Lawyer Harminder Bains said: “This judgment should mean fairer compensation for anyone diagnosed with a life shortening illness, or who has suffered a severe injury, and are faced with the choice of whether to bring claims in their lifetimes, or after their death via their estates.”
Leigh Day news release and the full judgment. Risks 788. 18 February 2017

Britain: Council accepts blame for teacher’s asbestos death
London’s Merton Council has accepted liability for the death of a teacher who was exposed to asbestos at a school in Mitcham. Kathleen Bennett, who died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma aged 66 in May 2015, taught at the St Thomas of Canterbury Middle School during the 1970s and 80s, and has received a compensation settlement of £250,000.
Wimbledon Guardian. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Britain: Boss jailed over asbestos crimes on demolition job
A demolition company director has been jailed after putting workers and nearby residents at risk of “serious harm” by exposing them to asbestos. David Briggs, who runs Bury-based Briggs Demolition, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison by district judge Nicholas Sanders at a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Oldham Chronicle. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Canada: Unions welcome backing for asbestos law
Unions in British Columbia have welcomed the backing of the Canadian province’s top court for a law protecting asbestos removal workers. The BC Insulators Union and the BC Federation of Labour said they were ‘extremely relieved’ the BC Court of Appeal had unanimously overturned a February 2016 BC Supreme Court ruling that laws protecting asbestos removal workers from the deadly substance were too “voluminous and complex” to enforce by safety regulator WorkSafeBC.
BC Federation of Labour news release. BC Court of Appeal ruling. Voice Online. Risk 786. 4 February 2017

Global: Russian ‘mafia’ is pushing asbestos
The Russian mafia is the force behind a powerful international pro-asbestos lobby, a Senate inquiry in Brisbane, Australia, has heard. A federal Senate committee is investigating how potentially lethal building products, some including banned asbestos, are making their way into the country.
ABC News. Australian government enquiry into non-conforming building products. Risk 786. 4 February 2017

Britain: Asbestos removal firm fined after botched jobs
Midlands-based firm Enviro-Safe Limited have been fined for failing to meet the standards required when removing asbestos. Birmingham Magistrates Court heard how the company failed to protect its employees from the spread of asbestos fibres during the removal work at separate projects.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risk 786. 4 February 2017

Britain: Asbestos analyst falsified dust readings
An asbestos analyst has been fined after he falsified an asbestos air clearance certificate, following a licensed asbestos removal job in Manchester. Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Barrie Lyons, a well-trained asbestos analyst with 29 years of experience, was contracted to carry out the final inspection and air testing, following asbestos removal at a construction site in central Manchester.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 785. 28 January 2017

Canada: Asbestos ban hailed as a union victory
In a major victory for Canada’s trade union movement, the country’s federal government has announced a ban on the import, export, manufacture and use of asbestos. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the global union confederation ITUC, said “we congratulate the Canadian trade union movement for this success, and the government’s move will increase pressure on other countries which still have not implemented a ban.”
ITUC news release. CLC news release. Government of Canada news release. IBAS news release. Risks 782. 7 January 2017

Britain: Teacher’s death highlights school asbestos complacency
The government must change its ‘laissez-faire approach’ to asbestos management in schools or risk more deaths, a union coalition has warned. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) was commenting after a coroner investigating the death in June of retired teacher Sue Stephens ruled she died following exposure to asbestos at work.
JUAC news release. Daily Mail.
Petition to protect children and teachers from asbestos exposures in schools. Risks 781. 17 December 2016.

USA: Watchdog nips in with pre-Trump chemical action
In a last minute flurry of activity, the US regulator charged with ushering into effect a new chemical safety law, has named the first 10 chemicals – including asbestos – it has selected for risk evaluations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement was the first major benchmark established by Congress when it passed sweeping changes earlier this year to the Toxic Substances Control Act.
EPA news release. The Pump Handle blog. Risks 779. 3 December 2016

Britain: Unite member gets £165,000 for asbestos cancer
A Unite member from Cambridgeshire has been awarded £165,000 in compensation after exposure to asbestos caused him to develop the incurable cancer, mesothelioma. Peter Kavanagh, regional secretary at Unite, said: “Our member worked in a variety of jobs throughout the 1960s and 70s, but in every instance his employer would disregard his health and expect him to work in close proximity with asbestos.”
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 779. 3 December 2016

Britain: Former firefighter developed asbestos cancer
A retired member of the firefighters’ union FBU has been awarded compensation after developing the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. Dave Green, FBU national officer, said: “Our member dedicated 30 years of his career to the fire service, but tragically his loyalty to his job has led to him to developing this terrible condition.”
FBU news release. Risks 777. 19 November 2016

Britain: Six-figure settlements for asbestos cancers
The union Unite has secured two six figure settlements after members developed the aggressive asbestos cancer mesothelioma. In the first case, a former chemical worker from Middlesbrough was awarded £180,000. In a second, Unite secured £147,000 for the family of a former refinery forklift driver who died aged 72 of the same cancer.
Thompsons Solicitors news releases on the compensation settlements for the former chemical worker and the family of the forklift driver. Risks 775. 5 November 2016

Global: Russia to ‘educate’ Sri Lanka to keep asbestos
On-going pressure from the Russian government has secured a substantial delay to Sri Lanka’s proposed ban on chrysotile asbestos. A 10 October story in the Mirror Business newspaper first revealed a ban scheduled for 2018 had now been pushed back to 2024, after Russia warned the ban could damage relations between the countries.
Mirror Business. Daily FT. Ceylon Today. Risks 774. 29 October 2016

Britain: Asbestos scarred plumber’s lungs
A former plumber and heating engineer has received £20,000 in damages after developing the disabling lung scarring condition asbestosis. Retired Unite member Albert Bingham, 72, was awarded a provisional settlement, meaning his case can be reopened if his health deteriorates because of his asbestos disease.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 774. 29 October 2016

Britain: Former firefighter developed asbestos disease
A former firefighter from Merseyside has received ‘substantial’ compensation after he developed the asbestos-related condition, pleural thickening. FBU member John Ford, 85, was first exposed to asbestos in 1951 when he was employed as a labourer at a shipyard, working in boiler rooms and near pipework that was insulated with asbestos and from 1954 to 1984 he worked as a firefighter, where he was again exposed to the dangerous fibres when dealing with fires in buildings that contained asbestos.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 773. 22 October 2016.

Britain: Asbestos exposure harmed union rep’s lungs
A former Unite union representative has received £38,000 compensation after developing the asbestos-related condition, diffuse pleural thickening. Roy Green was exposed to asbestos throughout his career.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 772. 15 October 2016

Canada: Unions press for an asbestos ban
Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related death in Canada, prompting renewed union calls on the federal government to ban asbestos. Labour Congress (CLC) president Hassan Yussuff, speaking on 26 September, which is Mesothelioma Awareness Day in Canada, said: “This is about workers’ safety and it’s about public safety, which is why we are calling for the government to adopt a comprehensive ban on asbestos.”
CLC news release. Risks 771. 8 October 2016

Australia: Banned asbestos intercepted by border authorities
Border authorities in Australia have made more than a dozen interceptions of asbestos since a department shakeup last year, amid fears lax enforcement was allowing the killer substance to flood into the country from overseas. Australian Border Force has made 13 seizures of the banned building material since it was established in July last year.
WA Today. AMWU/CFMEU Asbestos Free Future campaign. Risks 771. 8 October 2016

Britain: Campaigners show docs how to spot asbestos diseaseDoctors in Scotland are to be given new guidance on how to diagnose asbestos-related disease in the hope of improving care for sufferers. Campaigners from Clydeside Action on Asbestos (CAA), which helps people with asbestos cancers, has developed a new initiative designed to help GPs spot the signs of related diseases including mesothelioma quicker.
Evening Times. Clydeside Action on Asbestos. Risks 679. 24 September 2016.

Britain: Asbestos caused rail worker’s pleural thickening
A former railway worker from Luton has received compensation after asbestos exposure caused him to develop a disabling lung condition. Mick Whelan, general secretary at ASLEF, said: “Our member was never provided with any protective equipment throughout the course of his career, which left him defenceless against inhaling asbestos.”
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 679. 24 September 2016.

Britain: Plan to move MPs from ‘asbestos riddled’ parliament
MPs could move out of the Houses of Parliament for six years if they back a parliamentary committee's recommendation to temporarily decant so restoration work can take place on the ‘asbestos riddled’ buildings. The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster has recommended that MPs move into the nearby Department of Health with peers going to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster news release, report summary and full report. The Independent. Leigh Day news release. Risks 768. 17 September 2016.

Britain: Asbestos caused fitter’s lung cancer
A Hampshire man has received £110,000 in compensation after developing lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. While studies suggest as many people develop lung cancer caused by asbestos as develop mesothelioma caused by the fibre, compensation settlements for lung cancer are relatively rare as it is common in the general population and less likely to be attributed to work factors.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Portsmouth News. Risks 767. 10 September 2016

Britain: MP attacks government asbestos inaction
A Labour MP has accused the government of failing to protect children and teachers from “an asbestos timebomb” in our schools. Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves said as the new chair of the Asbestos in Schools (AiS) group she would “be pressing the new education secretary, Justine Greening, to do more to deal with the threat that a report from the all-party parliamentary group on occupational health and safety described as the ‘timebomb in our schools’.”
Labourlist. Teaching Times. Risks 765. 27 August 2016.

Britain: HSE will investigate possible UK asbestos imports
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to launch a formal investigation into the possibility of illegal asbestos imports to the UK. The move came after UK unions and asbestos victims’ and campaign groups told the regulator illegal imports into Australia by Yuanda Australia PTY Ltd were only exposed as a result of union vigilance, and queried whether Yuanda UK could have obtained asbestos-containing materials for use in the major UK construction projects with which it is involved.
IBAS news report. Risks 764. 20 August 2016

Britain: Company puts family and workers at risk
A home improvement company has been fined after removing asbestos material from a domestic property unsafely and without a licence. St Albans Magistrates’ Court heard how Ace of Hearts Home Improvement Limited (AOH) removed asbestos containing materials (ACM) from a domestic property in St Albans.
HSE press release.  TUC asbestos eradication guide. Risks 763. 13 August 2016

Britain: Questions raised over asbestos import risk
A campaign group is investigating whether banned asbestos-containing materials could have been imported illegally into the UK by a Chinese-owned building materials multinational linked to asbestos material imported to Australia. The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) said: “It Yuanda Australia imported asbestos-containing building materials, it is not unreasonable to suspect that Yuanda UK Co Ltd could have done likewise.”
IBAS news release. ACTU news release. CFMEU news release. Risks 762. 6 August 2016

Britain: Essex school fined over disturbed asbestos
An Essex school has been fined after poorly-planned and managed refurbishment and maintenance activities exposed school staff and others to asbestos. Chelmsford Crown Court heard that managers at The Boswells School, Chelmsford, decided to convert an old boiler room at the school into a cleaning store, however during the course of this work asbestos residue on the walls was disturbed and caretakers swept contaminated debris from floors.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Essex Chronicle. Risks 761. 30 July 2016

Britain: School reprimanded after union exposes asbestos blunders
A Worcester school has received an official reprimand after the union UNISON raised concerns about dangerous work with asbestos. Two 18-year-old workers were seen knocking asbestos down from the roof of a small outbuilding at Christopher Whitehead Language College during the October half term in 2013. 
Worcester News. Updated guide for safety reps on asbestos in schools, JUAC, July 2016. Risks 761. 30 July 2016

Italy: Olivetti bosses get jail for asbestos manslaughter
Leading Italian businessman and media mogul Carlo De Benedetti has been convicted in connection to asbestos-related deaths at a company he led more than two decades ago. The 81-year-old was one of 16 defendants in a case concerning Olivetti, a typewriters and computers company where 13 employees died between the late 1970s and the early 1990s after being exposed to asbestos.
Europe Online. The Local. Risks 760. 23 July 2016

Global: Asbestos industry’s fight to the death
The global asbestos industry is engaged in a well-resourced defence of its deadly product. As well as promoting chrysotile asbestos in ‘scientific’ and public relations presentations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, a key target for the campaign is the United Nations (UN), warned Laurie Kazan Allen, who heads up the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS).
IBAS news report. RightOnCanada. Risks 760. 23 July 2016

Britain: Mesothelioma stats show need for asbestos action
A single type of asbestos cancer has killed over 2,500 people for three consecutive years, latest official statistics show. The TUC, calling for government action on the release of mortality figures for the cancer mesothelioma, said although most people have probably never heard of mesothelioma the new figures for 2014 show that “for the third year running, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has been over 2,500 and this level is likely to continue for at least the rest of the decade.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Mesothelioma in Great Britain: Mesothelioma mortality in Great Britain 1968 to 2014, HSE, July 2016 and HSE mesothelioma webpages. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Britain: New union calls for asbestos removal from schools
Calls for the government to remove asbestos from all schools and colleges have been stepped up following the death of a teacher. Kevin Courtney, acting general secretary of the teaching union NUT, said: “Yet another teacher’s life has been tragically cut short by this dreadful, and entirely preventable, disease.”
NUT news release. Times Education Supplement (TES). JUAC website. Risks 758. 9 June 2016

Britain: Events nationwide to remember asbestos cancer victims
Campaigners marked Action Mesothelioma Day on 1 July with high profile events nationwide. The event, which focuses attention on the toll claimed by asbestos, Britain’s biggest industrial killer, is now in its tenth year.
Action Mesothelioma Day and events listing. ITV News. Video of AMD 2016 presentation by NUT’s Sarah Lyons. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Mesothelioma UK. Risks 758. 9 June 2016

Canada: Asbestos-related cancers cost billions
A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on Canadian society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7-billion (£1bn) per year in Canada, and notes this is probably an under-estimate. The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from work-related asbestos exposure in Canada amounts to an average of Can$818,000 (£471,000) per case, according to a team led by health economist and senior scientist Dr Emile Tompa at the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health.
The Globe and Mail. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Zimbabwe: No interest in operating asbestos mines
The Zimbabwe government’s hope that asbestos mining could be revived in the country have not been realised because there is little interest in the deadly product. Mines and Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo, said: “We are not getting investors [for SMM] and it seems to be a big problem largely because the market for asbestos is not looking good.”
Financial Gazette. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Britain: Action Mesothelioma Day, 1 July 2016
Now in its 10th year, Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD) is held on the first Friday in July, this year falling on Friday 1 July. Events to mark AMD 2016 have been organised nationwide by asbestos victims support groups.
Action Mesothelioma Day, 1 July 2016 events listing. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

New Zealand: Unions welcome asbestos ban move
Unions have welcomed what they say is a long overdue move by the New Zealand government to ban imports of almost all asbestos-containing products. Sam Huggard, secretary of the national union federation CTU, said: “We are pleased that the changes we have been calling for, have now been, mostly, actioned.”
New Zealand government announcement. NZCTU news release. 7 News. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Britain: Poor training led to serious work injuries
A Unite member from Birmingham has received damages after suffering a crush injury to his hand and the partial amputation of his thumb because he didn’t have adequate safety training at work. At the time of the incident the 53-year-old worker, whose name has not been released, was working for Markem Haulage Limited delivering cement to locations across the West Midlands.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 753. 4 June 2016

Britain: Former steel rigger get pleural thickening payout
A Unite member who developed diffuse pleural thickening as a result of exposure to asbestos at work has received an undisclosed payout. The former steel rigger, who was never provided with protective equipment or told about the dangers of working with asbestos, started to suffer from shortness of breath and panic attacks in 2011, at which point he visited his doctor who arranged for him to have a scan on his lungs. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 752. 4 June 2016

Britain: Time to get rid of asbestos, says TUC
It is time to get rid of asbestos for good, the TUC has said. It has published a new guide for workplace representatives on how to negotiate “to get rid of this killer dust once and for all,” adding “there is a need to ensure that all workplaces have a programme of identifying, managing and safely removing and disposing of all asbestos.”
Asbestos – a time to get rid of it. A guide for workplace union reps. Cancer hazards blog. Risks 752. 28 May 2016

Britain: Site workers call for mandatory asbestos surveys
Social housing landlords should have a “legal duty” to undertake asbestos surveys and should give the results to tenants and maintenance workers, the construction union UCATT has affirmed. A conference motion commits the union to “name, shame and publicise councils, housing associations and private contractors involved in exposing UCATT members to asbestos.”
Morning Star. Risks 752. 28 May 2016

Britain: Former teacher's death linked to asbestos
Former colleagues of a man who died from asbestos-related cancer are being urged to help with an investigation into how he came into contact with the harmful substance.
David Clegg, a former teacher and factory worker from Knottingley, was diagnosed with mesothelioma just a week before he died in February, aged 58.
Pontefract and Castleford Express. Anyone with information is being asked to contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0113 218 6453. Risks 749. 7 May 2016

Britain: Prison carpenter developed work-related lung cancer
A POA member from County Durham has received compensation of £220,832 after contracting asbestos-related lung cancer. The retired carpenter, whose name has not been released, was employed in various prisons between 1963 and 1995 where he carried out maintenance work on prison buildings.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Northern Echo. Risks 747. 23 April 2016

Australia: Fears over asbestos in imported building materials
Concerns have been raised about asbestos being imported into Australia in cheap building materials, with more than 50 sites thought to be affected. While the importation of any materials containing asbestos has been banned in Australia for the past decade, investigations carried out by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) have led to the monitoring of buildings across several states, amid concerns that cheap imported materials from China have contained the carcinogenic substance.
ASEA evidence. Supply Management. Risks 746. 16 April 2016

Britain: Police Scotland told to act on asbestos
Police Scotland has been told to take ‘remedial action’ over the presence of asbestos in some of its buildings. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served the force with an improvement notice following inspections at four sites in Glasgow earlier this year.
The Herald. BBC News OnlineRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Family of engineer appeal for asbestos help
The family of a BECTU member Patrick Smith is urging anyone who has worked at aerial transmission sites in the UK to come forward with information about the working conditions. Patrick worked as a technical engineer between 1977 and 2014 at locations including Wenvoe, Wood Norton, Daventry, Sutton Coldfield, Wooferton, Washford, Ascension Island, Droitwich and Bressay.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Anyone who may have any relevant information should contact Jackie Wood at Thompsons on 0207 290 0031. Risks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Maintenance worker developed disabling lung disease
The family of a West Yorkshire maintenance worker who developed a disabling lung condition after working with asbestos has received compensation from the NHS. Unite member Jack Coleman from Cleckheaton worked as a plumber at Leeds General Infirmary from 1980 until 2004, where he repaired pipework lagged with asbestos in the hospital.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Telegraph and ArgusRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Report slams schools asbestos ‘scandal’
Decades of failing to deal with deadly asbestos in schools is a national “scandal” threatening the health of former, current and future schoolchildren, a wide-ranging investigation has found. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) said case histories it identified underlined “systematic failings” in the way asbestos in school premises was dealt with by successive governments.
Yorkshire Post. IBAS news report. Morning StarRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Funds for new asbestos diseases research centre 
A new £5 million centre is to spearhead research on the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma. The initiative was included in Chancellor George Osborne’s March budget. Budget 2016. IBAS news report. The Chronicle. Risks 744. 2 April 2016

Britain: Britain’s big role in promoting asbestos
UK-based scientists are playing a prominent role in promoting the continued use of asbestos around the world, according to a new investigative report. ‘Friendly fibre?’ notes that Britain has is home to some of the industry’s more turned-to experts, who have shown a ‘remarkable willingness’ to defend chrysotile, the most common and last remaining form of asbestos in commercial use.
Friendly fibre? How the asbestos industry turns to British scientists, Hazards, number 133, March 2016. Risks 743. 19 March 2016

[asbestos]Britain: Gas engineer put tenants at asbestos risk
A gas engineer removed potentially dangerous asbestos material during a gas boiler replacement putting himself and others at risk from exposure to asbestos fibres. Brian Hockin, 58, was removing an old warm air heating system at a residential property in Wrafton when he disturbed asbestos insulation board that surrounded the warm air boiler, ignoring concerns raised by tenants.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 743. 19 March 2016

USA: Ford spent $40m to influence asbestos science
Ford Motor Company spent $40 million on scientific studies designed to cast doubt on the link between asbestos brake linings and cancers including mesothelioma, an investigation has found. The probe by the Washington DC-based Center for Public Accountability said:“All told, testimony shows, Ford has spent nearly $40 million funding journal articles and expert testimony concluding there is no evidence brake mechanics are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma.”
CPI investigative report. Risks 740. 27 February 2016

Britain: Union wins ‘livesaving’ action on asbestos in housing
Action is being taken to protect tenants and maintenance workers in Wales against the danger of asbestos, after discussions between the union UCATT and the Welsh government. As a result of the talks, communities minister Lesley Griffiths has written to every local authority and registered social landlord in Wales calling on them to ensure contractors are fully informed of asbestos in a property before starting maintenance work.
UCATT news release. Free Press. Risks 740. 27 February 2016

Britain: Union veteran puts rail asbestos risks on record
People across York probably breathed in deadly asbestos dust from the former York rail carriageworks in the late 1950s and 60s, a former union leader has warned. Former Unite (TGWU) rep and branch secretary Paul Cooper, 72, who worked at the factory in the city from 1959 until it closed in 1996 and has long campaigned about employees' exposure to asbestos, said huge extractor fans were fitted in an asbestos spraying workshop in the late 1950s which pumped dust into the air.
York Press. Slater and Gordon briefing on York carriageworks and asbestos. IBAS 2007 paper on rail union asbestos campaigns in the UK. Risks 740. 27 February 2016

Canada: Union calls for national asbestos registry and ban
A Canadian union leader has called for a national registry of the location of asbestos materials. The call from Philip Venoit, president of Vancouver Island Building and Construction Trades Council, came after latest figures from Statistics Canada revealed new cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma had doubled across the country, from 276 cases in 1992 to 560 cases in 2012.
Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Britain: Renewed warning after teacher dies of asbestos cancer
The death of a teacher from an asbestos cancer shows that school staff and pupils are still at risk of deadly asbestos diseases, unions have warned. The alert came after Lincolnshire coroner Paul Kelly recorded that Elizabeth Belt, who taught in schools in the county from 1968 to 1995, died as a result of an industrial disease, the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. Morning Star. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Italy: Olivetti asbestos trial gets underway
Seventeen ex-managers at the electronics firm, Olivetti, are on trial over allegations that asbestos exposure at a factory in the Piedmont town of Ivrea caused 14 deaths. The accused, who include Franco De Benedetti, the current chief of scooter manufacturer Piaggio, worked for the company between the late 1970s and 2000.
The Local. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: Academy fined over asbestos risks
An academy trust has been fined for its criminal failure to manage asbestos and ensure the safety of builders working at a Medway school. Representatives from the Williamson Trust pleaded guilty at Medway Magistrates Court, where it was heard asbestos had been uncovered during work in 2012 at the Hundred of Hoo Academy, one of the trust’s schools.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Kent Messenger. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: Firms fined after asbestos failings
A food company and its contractor have been fined after asbestos was disturbed during building work and only identified by chance when an asbestos removal contractor came to the site. Stafford Crown Court heard no asbestos survey had been carried out by Mizkan Euro Ltd or DH Welton & Co Ltd.
HSE news release. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: UK asbestos giant spied on activists
Executives at the world’s biggest asbestos factory spied on journalists and safety and environmental campaigners who exposed the killer dust’s dangers. Secret industry documents reveal that the executives at Rochdale-based asbestos giant Turner and Newall (T&N) monitored people they considered to be “subversive” and kept a dossier on their activities, then used a media and political campaign to try to discredit them.
The Independent. IBAS blog. Hazards magazine. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: Post union acts until asbestos all clear
Union members at a Merseyside postal delivery office have returned to work after securing assurances about asbestos safety in the building. CWU members at the Kirkby office walked out after suspected asbestos was discovered while contractors were renovating the building.
Liverpool Echo. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: TUC dismay at asbestos cancer levy cut
The government should not cut the levy on insurance companies introduced to meet the cost of otherwise uncompensated cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting on a government announcement that the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme Levy for 2015/16 will be reduced to £23.2m from £32m in 2014/2015.
TUC news release. Ministerial statement 12 January 2016. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: Military veterans to quality for asbestos lump sums
Military veterans with mesothelioma can now receive lump sum payments of £140,000, after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revised compensation rules. The move came after the Royal British Legion said British veterans who developed the terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure during their military service were being unfairly treated, as they were only eligible for incremental war pension payments after being diagnosed with the rapidly lethal cancer.
MoD news release. Risks 733. 9 January 2016

Britain: Unlicensed firm removed school asbestos
A construction firm removed an asbestos ceiling in a school despite not having the legally required licence to do the work. Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that Clarks Construction Limited was contracted by the board of governors of Caddington Village School to refurbish changing rooms, toilets and associated areas at the school complex, but ignored the findings of an asbestos survey.
HSE news release and asbestos licensing webpage. Risks 732. 12 December 2015

Britain: Work on trains led to deadly cancer
A software engineer from South Yorkshire who was exposed to asbestos in a short stint on the railways in the 1960s has been awarded £245,000 compensation after he developed a deadly cancer as a result. The 64-year-old Unite member worked on the railway for three years and then left to join the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer, and later became a software designer at an IT company.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 732. 12 December 2015

Britain: Cinema director fined for asbestos failings
A St Albans cinema director has been fined after he put workers and members of the public at risk of exposure to asbestos. James Hannaway, 68, the sole director of The Alpha Cinema (St Albans) Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he allowed refurbishment of the derelict multiscreen cinema to begin in 2010 without proper checks for asbestos.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 731. 5 December 2015

Britain: Unite helps family of asbestos cancer victim
The family of a mechanical fitter from Lincoln who died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has received a six figure compensation payment, with the help of his former union, Unite. The victim, whose name has not been release, was exposed to asbestos while working at a power station in the early 1960s.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 731. 5 December 2015

Britain: Government rejects levy for mesothelioma research
The government has refused to back a call to make insurers pay for potentially life-saving research into a treatment for the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. The rebuff came during the 20 November second reading in the House of Lords of Lord Alton’s Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill.
Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill, House of Lords debate, Hansard, 20 November 2015. Morning Star. Risks 730. 28 November 2015

Britain: Company fined after failure to act on asbestos risks
Blue Diamond Engineering Limited has been fined after asbestos was found in its County Durham factory but the firm failed to document or manage the risks to employees or visitors to the site. Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard how the company was notified of the presence of asbestos materials discovered during a survey in 2006.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 730. 28 November 2015

Britain: Review promised on asbestos payouts to veterans 
The prime minister has said the government will review the way in which veterans dying as a result of exposure to asbestos during their military service are compensated. During prime minister’s questions, David Cameron was challenged by Labour MP Dave Anderson over a system that means former service personnel suffering from mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer caused by asbestos, get much lower payouts. 
The IndependentRisks 728. 14 November 2015

Britain: Dying military veterans denied asbestos justice 
British veterans who develop terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure during their military service are being unfairly treated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), campaigners and victims have claimed. Current laws mean that the MoD does not have to pay compensation for accidents or injuries suffered before 1987, which rules out those with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure decades ago.
Royal British Legion asbestos justice campaign. The Independent. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.

Britain: TUC backs MPs’ call for asbestos removal
The TUC is demanding immediate action after MPs accused the government of complacency on the risks of asbestos in buildings and called for an asbestos eradication law. ‘The asbestos crisis: why Britain needs a new law’ was published last week by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. The Mirror. Morning Star.
The asbestos crisis: why Britain needs a new law, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, October 2015. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.

Britain: Unions say end the deadly asbestos gamble
Unions have given their strong support to a report from MPs calling for the urgent removal of asbestos from Britain’s buildings. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health warned that at least 5,000 people die annually as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Unite news release. GMB news release. UCATT news release. NUT/JUAC news release. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.

Britain: Management ignored hospital asbestos for years
Unite is calling for answers and action after it was revealed more than 20 workers have been exposed to asbestos for years in a Manchester hospital. The union says the exposures came after Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust failed to deal with the cancer causing substance, putting staff, patients and visitors at risk.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.

Britain: Most Sheffield schools contain asbestos
Campaigners and politicians have called for drastic action amid revelations eight out of ten schools in Sheffield contain asbestos. Figures obtained by the local newspaper, the Star, revealed 86 per cent of primaries and 35 per cent of the city’s secondary schools contain the potentially deadly dust.
Sheffield Star. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.

Europe: Shocking new estimate of the asbestos death toll
Over 47,000 people in the European Union are dying of asbestos related conditions each year with the UK topping the fatalities list, a new report has concluded. ‘Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe’, published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), puts deaths caused by exposure to asbestos at three times previous estimates.
IBAS news release. Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe, ETUI, 29 September 2015. ETUI asbestos webpages. Risks 722. 3 October 2015

Britain: Council urged to come clean on schools asbestos
Unions should be told how an east London council is dealing with the asbestos found in half its schools, GMB has said. The union called for “a more proactive approach” from Barking and Dagenham council after a freedom of information request from a local paper discovered 31 of 61 schools in the borough contained asbestos.
GMB news release. Barking and Dagenham Post. Risks 720. 19 September 2015

Global: Lawyers bid to hide scientist’s asbestos links
In a document filed on 4 September, lawyers for Union Pacific Railroad Company made a court bid to suppress evidence that an expert witness in an asbestos compensation case was a regular recipient of money from a global asbestos lobbying group. Robert Nolan is a key scientific witness for the company in a US court case concerning the death of a worker from asbestos-related lung disease.
RightOnCanada.ca. Risks 719. 12 September 2015

Britain: Scotland urged to plug asbestos loophole
Scotland’s groundbreaking asbestos compensation laws need an immediate tweak to stop the most seriously affected individuals losing out, occupational health researchers have said. The University of Stirling team said Scotland leads the way in protecting the rights of people affected by asbestos, but found people who suffer from pleural plaques, an asbestos-related chest condition, are being forced to second-guess their chances of subsequently developing a potentially fatal condition such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Stirling University news release. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Glasgow Evening Times. Hawick News. Risks 719. 12 September 2015

Global: Asbestos industry lobbyists still at work
Top public relations firms are continuing to ply their trade for the global asbestos industry, helping maintain the deadly fibre’s marketshare. The latest evidence, obtained by Canadian human rights organisation RightOnCanada.ca, comes from Malaysia.
RightOnCanada.ca. Risks 718. 5 September 2015

Britain: Firms knew about asbestos, workers did not
A construction management company and the director of a construction firm have been fined for serious safety failings during work with asbestos on a London construction site. Work carried out by three employees of Chelmsford construction firm Cowen Builders Limited exposed them to asbestos over several days, after the main contractor failed to pass on details of an asbestos survey.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 717. 29 August 2015

Britain: Asbestos death figures show ‘devastating legacy’
New official research revealing the areas of England and Wales with the highest rates of deaths linked to an asbestos-related disease provides a tragic reminder of the material’s “devastating legacy”, a top asbestos lawyer has said. A total of 11,011 deaths where mesothelioma was found to be an underlying cause were recorded in England and Wales across the four-year period analysed, with the number of fatalities increasing every year.
Mesothelioma deaths, England and Wales, deaths registered 2010-14, ONS, August 2015 [excel]. Irwin Mitchell news release. Risks 717. 29 August 2015

Britain: Asbestos campaigners say ‘stop playing with cancer’
Asbestos groups, trade unions and campaigners are calling for regulators to ensure people are protected from “possible asbestos contamination of UK imports.” The coalition was speaking out after July reports in the US identified asbestos fibres in crayons and toy fingerprinting kits imported from China.
IBAS/JUAC/Asbestos Forum news release. Risks 713. 1 August 2015

Italy: Pirelli managers convicted over asbestos deaths
A Milan court has convicted 11 former Pirelli managers of culpable homicide over the deaths of some 20 workers from asbestos related cancers. The court gave the managers, which included two ex-CEOs, jail terms of up to seven years and eight months; all eleven were Pirelli board members between 1979 and 1989 when, prosecutors said, workers were exposed to asbestos.
Ansa.it. BBC News Online. ABC News. Risks 712. 25 July 2015.

Canada: Deadly admission should lead to asbestos ban
The Canadian government has finally admitted there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. In a call echoed in editorials in national newspapers, public sector union CUPE said the government rethink should lead to a national ban on asbestos.
CUPE news release. Health Canada. Toronto Star. RightOnCanada.ca. Sarnia Observer. The Chronicle Herald. The Globe and Mail. Risks 710. 11 July 2015

Britain: Asbestos campaigners force cancer costs u-turn
The government has agreed to waive new court fees for cases involving asbestos-related disease in what has been hailed as a landmark decision for claimants. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK brought the case alongside mesothelioma sufferers Ian Doughty and Carole Sloper.
Leigh Day Solicitors news release. The Law Gazette. Risks 710. 11 July 2015

Britain: Call for new asbestos eradication law to cut cancers
A new asbestos eradication law requiring the safe, planned removal of all the asbestos that still remains in place should be introduced, the union Unite has said. Making the call on 3 July, the annual Mesothelioma Action Day, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Sixteen years after asbestos was banned in the UK, exposure to asbestos, which causes the incurable disease mesothelioma, remains ‘an ever present danger’.”
Unite news release. GMB news release. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Leigh Day Solicitors news release.
Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum report on Mesothelioma Action Day 2015. Risks 710. 11 July 2015

Britain: Teachers say their classrooms gave them cancer
Teachers must be protected from the “scourge of asbestos” in UK schools, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said. A report on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme last week noted that between 2003 and 2012, 224 people in Britain whose last occupation was recorded as “teaching professional” died of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
BBC News Online and Victoria Derbyshire programme. Risks 708. 27 June 2015

Britain: Thousands of police officers in asbestos exposure alert
Up to 30,000 police officers might have come into contact with asbestos at training facilities, the Metropolitan Police has said. The force confirmed it was examining a number of buildings used for firearms training between 1980 and 2007 and added it was in the process of contacting “a large number of officers” who might have been affected. Metropolitan Police news release. BBC News Online. The Mirror. The Independent. Risks 705. 6 June 2015

Britain: Council fined after a decade of asbestos neglect
A London council fined for its criminal failings on asbestos safety should listen more closely to its safety reps, a union has urged. UNISON reps on Waltham Forest Borough Council were speaking out after the local authority was fined for exposing members of staff and visiting contractors to the potentially lethal dangers of asbestos, which it knew to be present in the Town Hall basement.
UNISON Waltham Forest news release. HSE news release. Risks 705. 6 June 2015

Global: Asbestos industry celebrates business as usual
Governments backing the asbestos industry have derailed attempts to require mandatory warnings on all its cancer-causing exports. Russia and Kazakhstan – the world’s biggest asbestos exporters – headed a group of just four governments that refused to allow chrysotile asbestos to be put on the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances for which ‘prior informed consent’ is required by importers. RightOnCanada.ca. End asbestos website. International Chrysotile Association. Risks 703. 23 May 2015

Britain: Schools asbestos survey confirms union fears
Concerns about the standards of asbestos management in schools have been confirmed by a union survey. Just published findings of the online survey of a small sample of members of the teaching union NUT found 44 per cent of respondents had not been told whether their school contains asbestos.
NUT asbestos survey. The Guardian. Risks 703. 23 May 2015

Britain: UN warning on asbestos risk in Europe
One in three people in Europe are at risk from asbestos exposures, with the deadly fibre claiming thousands of lives each year, a United Nations (UN) report has warned. A high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe on 30 April ended with an urgent appeal to all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases.
WHO Europe news release and mesothelioma costs table. United Nations news release. WHO guidelines on elimination of asbestos related diseases. Cancerhazards.org. Risks 701. 9 May 2015

Britain: Contractor fined for potential asbestos risk
A restaurant leaseholder has been sentenced after illegally removing asbestos from the building during refurbishment work. Aman Ullah was in control of construction work which included the removal of asbestos insulation board soffits from the premises.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 701. 9 May 2015

Britain: Asbestos cancers highlight education risks
Recent reports of asbestos cancers in education workers have highlighted the potentially deadly risks in the sector. An inquest last month ruled that the mesothelioma that killed former psychology lecturer Gwyneth Bonnet was an industrial disease; former music teacher Julia Popple, who died aged 54 from mesothelioma, secured a £450,000 compensation settlement last month; and retired teacher Penny Devaney was reported to have developed mesothelioma.
9 Gough Square news release. North Wales Chronicle. Daily Mirror. Risks 701. 9 May 2015

Britain: Charter for asbestos justice launched
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum is seeking support for a new ‘Charter for Justice.’ The forum says its Charter sets out “easily affordable reforms” that would make a real difference to asbestos victims.
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK website and Charter for Justice. Risks 700. 2 May 2015

Asia: Warning about asbestos disease ‘tsunami’
Use of asbestos is increasing in Asia and the continent could face an asbestos disease ‘tsunami’ as a result, researchers have warned. Writing in the journal Respirology, experts from Australia, Indonesia and the UK note: “Reducing the risks of such diseases will require reduction in the use of asbestos, careful surveillance for asbestos related diseases and improved levels of training in the recognition and diagnosis of these disease, and cooperation among government and non-government groups in the prevention of these diseases.”
Su Lyn Leong, Rizka Zainudin, Laurie Kazan-Allen and Bruce W Robinson. Asbestos in Asia, Respirology, early view, published online ahead of print, 29 March 2015.
Paul Baas and Sjaak Burgers. ASIA: Asbestos stop in Asia, Editorial, Respirology, early view, published online ahead of print, 31 March 2015. Risks 698. 18 April 2015

Britain: Asbestos exposures killed art teacher
The family of a former art teacher who died from cancer after years of pinning pupils' work to classroom walls lined with asbestos is taking legal action against the local council. Jennifer Barnett worked Archway School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, between 1980 and 1997, when she left teaching.
Daily Mail. Risks 698. 18 April 2015

Global: Unions condemn UN asbestos junket
The appearance of asbestos industry lobbyists at a meeting organised by UN agencies and funded by the European Commission (EC) has been condemned as ‘farcical’ and a ‘junket’ by unions. Global building unions’ federation BWI said the event in Geneva on 30-31 March, ahead of a Rotterdam Convention conference in May, was hosted by the convention’s secretariat, the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) and funded by the EC.
BWI news report and model letter to labour and environment ministersRisks 69711 April 2015

Global: UK asbestos, Irish victim, US court case
A New York appellate court has ruled that a former mechanic in Ireland can sue Ford Motor Co in the US courts because the company’s “substantial role” in the design of car parts distributed by its UK subsidiary.
Law360.comRisks 69711 April 2015

Britain: Union warning on school asbestos toll
Asbestos is claiming the lives of up to 300 former pupils and 15 teachers a year, according to a report from the teaching union NUT. The union is calling for a national audit of all schools to assess the asbestos risk.
NUT news release. The Mirror. ITV News. Morning StarRisks 69711 April 2015

Global: Outrage at India’s ‘discredited’ asbestos push
Dozens of prestigious scientific organisations and scientists from around the world have called on India to end its ‘discredited’ efforts to keep chrysotile asbestos outside the scope of a United Nations treaty on toxic exports. A study by India’s National Institute of Occupational Health is being used to support the Indian government’s argument, and concludes there is no evidence that chrysotile asbestos is harming workers in India.
RightOnCanada.ca news release and statement sent to the Indian government.
Study of health eazards/Environmental hazards resulting from use of chrysotile variety of Asbestos in the country, National Institute of Occupational Health (India). Rotterdam Convention. Risks 696. 28 March 2015

Britain: Suspended jail term over asbestos exposure
A Leeds trader has been given a suspended jail sentence after exposing a household and workers to potentially dangerous levels of asbestos fibres at a home in Bramhope. Clive Raper, 49, trading as Bramley Asbestos Removals, took on a job to remove asbestos insulating board from the garage of a couple’s home despite the fact that he did not hold the legal licence required to carry out the specialist work.
HSE news release. Risks 696. 28 March 2015

Britain: Asbestos in schools report finally emerges
A long-delayed report into the presence of asbestos in schools was finally published on 12 March, after “sustained pressure” from education unions. Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum chair Doug Jewell said the report was “only one step on a long journey,” adding: “The findings of this review need to be built on and most importantly we need long term strategic policies that will eradicate asbestos from our schools.”
Department for Education asbestos review. NUT news release. GMB news release. IBAS news report. Asbestos Forum news release. Asbestos in Schools newsletter. BOHS news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Risks 695. 21 March 2015

Spain: Asbestos cancers not recorded or compensated
Almost all asbestos cancers are being missed by Spain’s official reporting system, a study has found, raising concerns that frequently terminally ill workers are also missing out on compensation. A team headed by Alfredo Menéndez-Navarro of the University of Granada estimate 93.6 per cent of cases of mesothelioma in men and 99.7 per cent in women are missing; for asbestos related lung cancers, the effect is worse still, with 98.8 per cent of bronchial and lung cancers in men and 100 per cent in women going unrecognised.
García-Gómez M, Menéndez-Navarro A, López RC. Asbestos-related occupational cancers compensated under the Spanish National Insurance System, 1978-2011, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH), volume 21, number 1, pages 31-39, January-March 2015. Eurogip. Risks 693. 7 March 2015

Britain: UK body refuses to recognise two asbestos cancers
The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) has said cancers of the larynx or ovary linked to asbestos exposure should not be added to the list of prescribed industrial diseases. Cancer of the larynx caused by asbestos is already recognised for state compensation payouts in countries including Germany, France, Denmark and Italy.
IIAC summary and Cancers of the larynx or ovary and work with asbestos: IIAC information note, February 2015. IARC Monograph 100C, 2012. Risks 692. 28 February 2015

Britain: HSE defends its asbestos awareness campaign
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said it is “surprised and disappointed” at criticism of its new asbestos awareness campaign. The HSE statement came after an asbestos industry training body said HSE’s Beware Asbestos app could encourage a DIY attitude to some short duration asbestos work.
HSE news release. Daily Star. Construction Index. Hazards magazine. Risks 692. 28 February 2015

Britain: GMB gives guarded welcome to mesothelioma payouts rise
The GMB union was said that changes to the way that victims of the cancer mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure, do not go far enough. GMB safety officer John McClean said the union was however “greatly disappointment that those victims and their families who received 80 per cent of the compensation since July 2014 will not be getting the missing 20%, and those victims who from February 2010, when the original consultation began, will receive nothing from this scheme.”
GMB news release. Risks 691. 21 February 2015

Britain: Housing workers exposed to asbestos
Construction union UCATT has exposed a significant scandal where several of their members were exposed to the killer dust, asbestos. The members were employed by Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd a subsidiary o

Britain: Government plugs mesothelioma payouts hole
Sufferers of an asbestos-related cancer will in the future receive extra payouts after the government revised its mesothelioma compensation rules. Under new rules for the government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme compensation will rise to match 100 per cent of average civil claims, up from the current 80 per cent.
DWP news release and ministerial written statement. Risks 690. 14 February 2015

Britain: Welsh asbestos NHS costs law overruled
The Supreme Court has sided with insurers who claimed a Welsh assembly law passed in 2013 to recoup asbestos treatment costs from employers’ liability insurers was outside its competence. The court said Welsh ministers had no right to impose charges to fund the NHS, and insurers should not be given extra liabilities for asbestos exposure which long predated the bill.
Supreme Court press summary. Welsh Assembly statement. Wales Online. Risks 690. 14 February 2015

Britain: Workers given baby wipes to wash off asbestos
A Suffolk building company has been fined after removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and failing to protect its workers from falls of up to four metres at a farm building in Waltham, Essex. Workers were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres and only provided with baby wipes or access to a hose for decontamination.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Ipswich Star. Risks 690. 14 February 2015

Britain: Stuart Pearce admits deadly asbestos fears
England football star Stuart Pearce is warning tradespeople of the deadly risks posed by asbestos. The former electrician said he could have breathed in asbestos while working as an electrician before his football career took off.
HSE news release, Beware Asbestos app and asbestos webpages. The Mirror. Construction Enquirer. Risks 689. 7 February 2015

Britain: North Sea workers faced an asbestos risk
Hundreds of North Sea oil and gas workers could have been exposed to deadly asbestos while drilling offshore. Fears for their safety arose after a retired rigger was awarded a five-figure legal settlement after contracting asbestos-related pleural thickening, caused by asbestos used in Flosal, a powdered substance used in the 1970s to lubricate pipes being drilled into the sea floor.
Sunday Post. Risks 689. 7 February 2015

Britain: Companies exposed plumbers to asbestos
Two plumbers were exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos because of criminal failures by two Barnstable companies, a court has heard. Employees of Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd were allowed to carry out removal of a back boiler and to drill a wall panel at a North Devon Homes property in Ilfracombe, despite not receiving an asbestos survey from North Devon Homes.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. North Devon Gazette. Risks 687. 24 January 2015

Britain: Unite launches asbestos awareness campaign
Unite members who think they’ve been exposed to asbestos are being urged to join the union’s asbestos register. The call forms a part of the union’s new campaign to raise awareness about “the silent killer”.
Unite news release and online campaign pack on asbestos for Unite members. Risks 687. 24 January 2015

Britain: Plans for NHS in Scotland to recoup asbestos costs
Plans for the health service in Scotland to recoup the cost of medical treatment from companies that exposed workers to asbestos have gone out to consultation. A bill lodged at the Scottish parliament by Stuart McMillan would introduce legislation to ensure that the NHS can claw back the money spent caring for people who have contracted conditions such as mesothelioma.
Stuart McMillan MSP blog. The Herald. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Britain: NUT ups its campaign on deadly asbestos in schools
Teaching union NUT is scaling up its campaign on the deadly risk posed by asbestos in schools, and is pressing the Department for Education (DfE) to come clean about the findings of a policy review. The union said it was unacceptable “that the DfE is delaying publication of the findings of its review of asbestos policy in schools, which could set an agenda for change.”
NUT news releasesend a supportive email to your MP. Lancashire Evening Post. Risks 685. 10 January 2015

Britain: Government ‘support’ short changes asbestos victims
Asbestos groups have accused ministers of putting a positive gloss on measures that “short change” victims of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. They were commenting after an 8 December Ministry of Justice news release proclaimed ‘new support for industrial disease victims’, including working with the National Cancer Registration Service and Public Health England to speed up the process of obtaining hospital medical records.
Ministry of Justice news release, details of the scheme and statement from Lord FaulksIrwin Mitchell news releaseLaw GazetteRisks 68413 December 2014

Global: Asbestos killer gets ‘shameful’ legal reprieve
The public prosecutor of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation has overturned the conviction of Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, who had received an 18 year jail term for causing the deaths of thousands of asbestos victims. The 19 November ruling means the former head of the Eternit Group is no longer a fugitive, because the public prosecutor ruled the original charges were filed too late.
IndustriALL news releaseRisks 6836 December 2014

Australia: Asbestos victims ‘do not die by instalments’
Unions in Australia have warned they will take legal action to block any application to the Supreme Court to have asbestos victims paid compensation in instalments. In a unanimous vote, the ACTU Executive committed to the action in response to a shortfall in the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) set up to compensate asbestos sufferers. ACTU news releaseWorking LifeRisks 6836 December 2014

Britain: Minister urges asbestos cancer victims to claim
The new compensation scheme for mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has paid out over £15 million in its first 7 months, according to the government. But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says there are hundreds more victims who may be eligible for compensation and is calling for them to come forward, estimating that £32 million could be paid out by the end of March 2015.
DWP news releaseRisks 6836 December 2014

Italy: Fury as court quashes asbestos conviction
Asbestos campaigners have responded furiously to a decision by Italy’s top court to quash on a technicality the conviction of an asbestos company executive previously found responsible for thousands of deaths. The Court of Cassation overturned an 18-year prison sentence for Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, the former owner of construction giant Eternit.
France 24 NewsYahoo NewsThe LocalRisks 68229 November 2014

Britain: Veterans falling to mesothelioma
As the country remembered those who have died in conflicts, the TUC has said those who suffered and died as a result of hazardous exposures while serving in the forces should not be forgotten. Many contracted diseases they contracted while serving in the military, including the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
TUC Stronger Unions blogRisks 68122 November 2014

Britain: Asbestos caused market trader’s lung cancer
Former market trader Alan Tattersall died from asbestos related lung cancer, an inquest heard. Burnley Coroners Court heard the former Burnley FC, Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper later worked as a plumber and came into contact with asbestos during his work.
Rossendale Free PressRisks 6798 November 2014

Britain: Supreme Court victory for asbestos victims
A landmark Supreme Court judgment will ensure a fair settlement for the bereaved families of asbestos disease victims. The ruling establishes that under the Factories Act the occupier of the premises is responsible for the welfare of the people on site, not just those it employs directly, and that the Asbestos Industry Regulations apply to all factories using asbestos - not just those involved in the asbestos industry.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseThe MirrorRisks 6781 November 2014

Britain: Extended family being ‘killed off’ by asbestos
A family fears it is being ‘killed off one by one’ by asbestos after two cousins died of a related cancer. Two other members of the family - Charlie Glass, 68, and cousin Tommy Glass, 80 – have also developed an asbestos related condition.
Daily RecordRisks 67725 October 2014

Britain: Asbestos killed former steelworker
The family of ex-steel worker Gordon Warner, who died last year from asbestos disease, is appealing for his former workmates to get in touch and help shed light on Mr Warner’s work at Bromford Iron and Steel in West Bromwich. Mr Warner died on 16 June 2013 aged 73 after contracting mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • Former employees of Bromford Iron and Steel with relevant information can contact Alison Fahy on 0121 262 1231 • Risks 67725 October 2014

Japan: Top court backs asbestos victims
Japan’s government failed to prevent workers from being exposed to harmful asbestos, is responsible for the diseases that resulted and should compensate those affected, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled. The court handed down the decision in two suits filed by former asbestos mill workers in southern Osaka Prefecture and their bereaved families.
Mainichi JapanJapan TimesRisks 67618 October 2014

Britain: Asbestos campaign welcome ‘but four years late’
Construction union UCATT have welcomed a new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asbestos awareness campaign but has warned that workers have been denied effective advice for over four years due to government “penny-pinching”. UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said the government’s bar on campaigns – the Hidden Killer campaign was on the blocks and ready to go when David Cameron came to power in 2010 – “means that for the last four and a half years, thousands of workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos and their health put at risk.”
UCATT news releaseHSE news release and beware asbestos webpage and appRisks 67618 October 2014

Britain: Court rules asbestos payout cut is illegal
Government plans to deduct legal fees from the damages paid to people dying from an asbestos cancer are unlawful, the High Court has ruled. The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK (AVSGF) brought the successful action against justice secretary Chris Grayling.
AVSGF news releaseLeigh Day and Co news releaseIBAS news reportLaw GazetteThe GuardianBBC News OnlineRisks 67511 October 2014

Britain: Pulmonary fibrosis asbestos link found
Many cases of a common lung disease that were assumed to be of no known cause are in fact the result of exposure to asbestos, UK scientists believe. Researchers from Imperial College London found a correlation between death rates in England and Wales from the known asbestos-related conditions asbestosis and mesothelioma and from “idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis” (IPF).
ERS news releaseRisks 67220 September 2014

Britain: Pulmonary fibrosis asbestos link found
Many cases of a common lung disease that were assumed to be of no known cause are in fact the result of exposure to asbestos, UK scientists believe. Researchers from Imperial College London found a correlation between death rates in England and Wales from the known asbestos-related conditions asbestosis and mesothelioma and from “idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis” (IPF).
ERS news releaseRisks 67220 September 2014

Britain: HSE accused of failure and denial on asbestos
A leading asbestos campaigner has accused the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of “overseeing” the worst asbestos cancer epidemic in the world and of making “unjustified” claims to ministers that its policies are working. The charges come from Michael Lees, a founder member of the Asbestos in Schools campaign and whose teacher wife Gina died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Asbestos in Schools, update 134, 15 September 2014 • Risks 67220 September 2014

Britain: Asbestos cancer caused by school exposures
A woman who was told she had less than a year to live after being diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer but who is now in remission has called for action to protect people from asbestos in schools. Sarah Bowman, 46, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in August 2009, caused by exposure to asbestos dust while she was a pupil at a London school undergoing refurbishment in the early 1980s.
Irwin Mitchell news releaseEvening Standard • Risks 67113 September 2014

Britain: NHS Trust fined for long-term asbestos failings
An NHS Trust has been fined after it was found likely to have exposed workers to potentially fatal asbestos material for more than a decade at its three hospitals in Hertfordshire. Between April 2000 and December 2011, the estates team at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust was maintaining buildings at Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead Hospital and St Albans Hospital without knowing that asbestos was present or being trained to identify and control exposure.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesBBC News OnlineRisks 66930 August 2014

Britain: Brothers jailed for exposing workers to asbestos
Two brothers from Stoke-on-Trent with little or no experience of building and construction work have been given prison sentences after they exposed workers to asbestos, continually ignoring official orders to stop. At least seven workers are known to have been exposed to asbestos – one aged just 17 at the time – by snooker hall manager Akram Hussain, 52, and taxi driver Inam Hussain, 47, during refurbishment work at a former print works in Burslem.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 66930 August 2014

Britain: Firefighter was killed by asbestos cancer
The family of a Newcastle upon Tyne retired firefighter, who died aged 78 from an asbestos cancer, has received compensation. The FBU member, whose name has not been released but who worked at a central Newcastle fire station for over 25 years, was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 1 August 2011 and died three days later.
FBU news releaseRisks 66930 August 2014

Britain: Former school cleaner’s asbestos cancer plea
A retired school cleaner diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her former work colleagues to help with an investigation into how and when she was exposed to the deadly dust. Hannah Scott, 69, worked as a cleaner at Teign School in Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, from 1975 to 1980.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release • Anyone who has any information about the working conditions and construction of the “A Block” at Teign School, Kingsteignton, between 1975 and 1980 should contact Phoebe Osborne on 0117 926 1549 or by emailRisks 66823 August 2014

Britain: MPs back campaigners on asbestos cancer justice
A committee of MPs has backed unions and asbestos disease victims’ advocates, and called on the government to rethink proposals cooked up with the insurance industry to impose legal costs on people suffering a deadly asbestos cancer. The Justice Select Committee report published on 1 August is highly critical of a government review that concluded a costs exemption for mesothelioma sufferers should end.
House of Commons Justice Committee: Mesothelioma claims and news releaseTUC news release •   Thompsons Solicitors news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseRisks 6669 August 2014

Britain: Unions welcome call for proper mesothelioma review
Unions have welcomed the Justice Select Committee’s call for a full governmental review on changes to the legal funding of personal injury claims. Public sector union UNISON warned, however, that a period of three to five years is needed to take stock of these changes and their effect before any such review should go ahead.
UNISON news releasesGMB news releaseRisks 6669 August 2014

Britain: Dying electrician secures asbestos cancer payout
A former electrician who is suffering from mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos cancer, has secured ‘substantial’ damages with the help of his union, Unite. The member, whose name has not been released, was exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s because a series of employers did not follow well-established workplace safety standards on preventing asbestos exposure or conduct proper risk assessments.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 6669 August 2014

Britain: UNISON calls for schools asbestos audit
The next Labour government must ensure there is a full audit of asbestos in schools, public sector union UNISON has said. “We will be lobbying to make sure that the health and safety of workers is on the agenda of all the major parties for the election campaign,” said the union's head of health and safety, Tracey Harding.
UNISON news releaseRisks 6669 August 2014

Zimbabwe: WHO requests asbestos false claims correction
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Zimbabwe’s pro-asbestos government to correct a dangerous misrepresentation of its position on asbestos. It follows the release in May of a position paper from the Zimbabwean authorities claiming WHO supports “controlled use” of chrysotile asbestos; the global health agency in fact says asbestos cannot be used safely and has called for all use of chrysotile asbestos to stop.
RightsOnCanadaWHO letter confirming request for a correctionRisks 6652 August 2014

Britain: Asbestos groups fight legal costs imposition
The government’s decision to impose additional legal costs on asbestos disease victims is being challenged in the High Court. The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK is challenging the move by Chris Grayling, the secretary of state for justice, to allow asbestos cancer sufferers to be charged up to 25 per cent of their awarded damages to pay for their legal costs as well as legal insurance premiums.
Leigh Day and Co news releaseAsbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UKRisks 6652 August 2014

Britain: Payout for school asbestos exposure
A man who believes he developed terminal cancer after being exposed to asbestos when a pupil at schools in Devon has received a payout of £275,000. Chris Wallace, 36, was diagnosed with an asbestos-related mesothelioma at 30.
BBC News OnlineRisks 66426 July 2014

Britain: Rail job led to asbestos cancer
British Rail has paid compensation to a former employee with a terminal asbestos-related cancer. Harold Shaw began working for British Rail at Crewe Railway Works in 1958 as a labourer in the Tender Shop, cleaning out the fitting pits at the works, which were lined with asbestos, then moved to a new role in the Asbestos House where he removed asbestos-lagged exhaust pipes until 1988 when he retired.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseSignal 1Risks 66319 July 2014

Britain: Final insult for workers dying because of their jobs
A government deal cooked up with the insurance industry and that robs asbestos cancer victims of a large chunk of their compensation is continuing to attract criticism. The Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire notes: “Even workers gasping for final breaths are targets to be short-changed by Tory toff David Cameron.”
Daily MirrorRisks 66319 July 2014

Britain: Campaigners press for asbestos justice
Asbestos disease campaigners, politicians and unions spoke out on 4 July to mark Action Mesothelioma Day, calling for urgent action to combat the deadly asbestos cancer. Deaths from mesothelioma, which is incurable and now kills in excess of 2,500 people a year, are still to peak in the UK, meaning tens of thousands more will die unless new treatments are found.
Action Mesothelioma Day eventsLord Alton’s speechThompsons Solicitors news releaseLeigh Day news releaseCWU news release •   New StatesmanMorning StarRisks 66212 July 2014

Britain: Asbestos disease victims deserve better treatment
Unions are asking their members to sign an e-petition calling on the government to provide funding for research into treatments and cures for asbestos-related diseases. The online petition to the Department of Health notes: “The United Kingdom has the dubious honour of being number 1 in the world for the level of deaths occurring annually from asbestos-related diseases.”
Sign the e-petitionUCATT news releaseCWU news releaseBritish Lung FoundationRisks 66212 July 2014

Global: Journal will make asbestos scientist own up
The asbestos industry’s attempt to put a healthy gloss on is unhealthy products is continuing, but its favourite consultant is facing renewed flak after his undeclared links to the industry were exposed. Toxicologist David Bernstein has been paid vast sums by asbestos firms and industry groups to write papers supporting continued asbestos use, with these appearing in scientific journals – but has declared he has “no conflicts of interest.”
RightOnCanada.ca • David Bernstein. Health risks of chrysotile asbestos, Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, volume 20, issue 4, pages 366-370, July 2014. Complaint to the journal • Background from Hazards and RightOnCanada on David Bernstein’s industry links • Risks 6615 July 2014

Britain: M&S shopworker wins asbestos cancer case
A 53-year-old shopworker who was exposed to asbestos on the shop floor whilst working for Marks & Spencer, has won her case for cancer compensation in the High Court. Janice Allen worked in two M&S stores between 1978 and 1987, first in its flagship store on London's Oxford Street and then at its Uxbridge branch as a supervisor.
Leigh Day solicitorsThe GuardianDaily MailRisks 6615 July 2014

Britain: Asbestos neighbour caused husband’s death
The widow of a man who lost his life to asbestos-related cancer has received a six-figure compensation settlement. In another case highlighting the potent killing power of asbestos, Lindsey Aherne, 63, received the payout after her husband, Denis, died of mesothelioma in 2012, the result of growing up near the Cape Asbestos factory in Barking, London.
Barking and Dagenham PostRisks 6615 July 2014

Britain: Education changes put staff and pupils at risk
Government-imposed changes to the education system have undermined the safety of staff and pupils, the union NASUWT has charged. The union was speaking out after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) probe uncovered a criminal failure to deal properly with asbestos in more than 1 in 8 schools inspected.
NASUWT news releaseRisks 6615 July 2014

Britain: More than 1 in 8 non-LA schools illegal on asbestos
A criminal failure to deal properly with asbestos was found in more than 1 in 8 schools inspected in a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) probe. HSE’s latest asbestos in schools inspection initiative investigated practices in a carefully selected random sample of 153 non-local authority schools between April 2013 and January 2014, which included independent, voluntary aided and foundation schools, free schools and academies.
HSE news release and inspection results and full reportRisks 66028 June 2014

Britain: More than 1 in 8 non-LA schools illegal on asbestos
A criminal failure to deal properly with asbestos was found in more than 1 in 8 schools inspected in a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) probe. HSE’s latest asbestos in schools inspection initiative investigated practices in a carefully selected random sample of 153 non-local authority schools between April 2013 and January 2014, which included independent, voluntary aided and foundation schools, free schools and academies.
HSE news release and inspection results and full reportRisks 66028 June 2014

Britain: Government and insurers colluded on asbestos deal
The government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) ‘colluded’ on a deal that introduced legal reforms favouring insurers and harming asbestos disease claimants, it has been claimed. Under the deal, the government acquiesced to an insurance industry demand and imposed legal costs on mesothelioma sufferers successfully claiming compensation.
Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseDeal struck between the Government and the Association of British InsurersRisks 65921 June 2014

Britain: Don’t deny rights to injury victims, says STUC
Scotland’s top union body has called on a Scottish parliament committee to uphold access to justice for the victims of workplace injuries. STUC is urging the justice committee to support amendments submitted by John Finnie MSP to the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, to protect rights including legal representation.
Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill webpagesOut-Law.comRisks 65921 June 2014

Britain: Death linked director jailed for illegal asbestos sales
A 64-year-old Shropshire man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after his company illegally supplied roofing panels containing asbestos. Company director Robert Marsh’s offences only came to light after a 56-year-old construction worker, who was roofing a barn using the panels, fell through the fragile material and later died.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 65814 June 2014

Britain: Scots asbestos sufferers face compensation blow
Planned legal changes in Scotland could mean those suffering from asbestos-related illnesses could lose out on legal representation and compensation, a member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) has said. The Scottish government’s Court Reform Bill - which is currently being considered by MSPs - would mean some cases would be downgraded from the Court of Session to sheriff courts, or a new specialist personal injury court.
Greenock TelegraphRisks 65814 June 2014

Britain: Botched asbestos job risked workers lives
One of the largest asbestos removal contractors has been convicted of putting the lives of workers at risk through a catalogue of safety breaches during demolition of a former school building in Lincoln. Scottish-based Angus Group Ltd claim to have over thirty years experience in asbestos removal and are operating, not only in the UK, but and the middle and far east, yet did not properly manage the removal of asbestos-containing materials at the site of the former Ermine Infants’ School where they were sub-contracted to carry out the asbestos removal work on behalf of the contractors demolishing the school.
HSE releaseRisks 65631 May 2014

Britain: Union wins legal victory for asbestos victims
Unite has won a judicial review against HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which means that, when requested to do so by a coroner, HMRC has to produce the work history of a person suspected to have died from industrial disease. HMRC had recently overturned years of practice of issuing work histories if the deceased person’s relatives consented and were now refusing to do so without a High Court order.
Unite press releaseRisks 65631 May 2014

Britain: Cruelty of asbestos payout scheme exposed
The widow of a man who died from asbestos-related cancer is set to miss out on a six figure payout from a government compensation scheme, because he was diagnosed a few days before the scheme kicked in. Sid Pointon, 73, was diagnosed with cancer just 10 days before the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme cut-off for payments to help families who have lost loved ones because of the killer dust.
Manchester Evening NewsRisks 65524 May 2014

Britain: Labour promises more support for asbestos victims
The next Labour government will provide fresh assistance to victims of asbestos, a shadow minister has pledged. Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said a future Labour administration will “be enshrining in a law a levy on the insurance industry, to secure a sustainable funding stream for improved compensation for victims and ongoing research into the disease and its treatment.”
UCATT news releaseHeating and Ventilation NewsRisks 65524 May 2014

Britain: Workers not told about known asbestos risk
A south London building firm has been fined after a foreman and others were kept in the dark about asbestos exposures. Redwood Contractors Ltd was in possession of a detailed asbestos survey that clearly identified the location of the asbestos wall panels inside a warehouse, but the survey conducted two months prior to the work starting wasn’t shared with the team on the ground.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 65417 May 2014

Britain: Union call for better asbestos disease treatment
Communication workers have called for better compensation and more funding for research relating to the deadly asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. CWU national executive committee member Ian Ward told the union’s conference that there was going to be 100 per cent compensation for those contracting the disease, but that the coalition government stepped in to block the move.
Morning StarRisks 6523 May 2014

Britain: Schools asbestos campaigner gets union plaudits
An internationally renowned asbestos campaigner has received a union’s top award. Teaching union NUT presented this year’s Fred and Anne Jarvis Award to Michael Lees, who since his teacher wife Gina died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma has worked “tirelessly” to highlight the risks posed by asbestos in schools.
NUT news releaseMorning StarAsbestos in SchoolsRisks 65126 April 2014

Britain: Trio of union reps ‘saved hundreds of lives’
Three local union reps have ‘undoubtedly’ helped save hundreds of lives, a newspaper profile of the men has concluded. The Western Morning News notes that in the five years from 2008 to 2012, a total of 396 asbestos-related deaths were recorded in Devon and Cornwall, but adds: “That figure would most likely be far higher but for the work of former dockyard union leaders Bill Goffin, John Williams and Dick Powell.”
Western Morning NewsRisks 6495 April 2014

Australia: Warning over 'third wave' of asbestos diseases
Women are likely to form a significant proportion of the ‘third-wave’ of people with asbestos-related diseases in Australia, according to a new research report. ‘The Asbestos Narratives’ presents the findings of a study conducted by Southern Cross University, which investigated the social and psychological impacts of asbestos disease.
SCU news releaseABC NewsRisks 64829 March 2014

Britain: Contractors exposed workers to asbestos dust
A Bath building contractor exposed two of its employees to asbestos dust while working at a residential property in the city, a court has heard. Geoff Thomas and Son Ltd allowed the workmen to demolish a basement ceiling in January 2013 without checking for the presence of asbestos –and when it realised the deadly fibre was present, it sent the pair to work on other jobs without decontaminating their clothes.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 64829 March 2014

Britain: Government nudges up asbestos cancer payouts
Victims of the fatal asbestos-induced cancer mesothelioma who can’t trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer will from April be able to apply for compensation packages worth an average of £123,000. The payouts, which have been increased by the government after criticism from victims’ groups, are still 20 per cent short of the average from a normal civil claim.
DWP news releaseIrwin Mitchell news release Risks 64615 March 2014

Britain; School caretaker died from asbestos cancer
A man from who spent years working as a caretaker in schools across Hampshire died as a result of asbestos exposure, an inquest has fund.  Graham Gale died aged 62 on 24 November last year.
Daily Echo Risks 64615 March 2014

New Zealand: Workers won't drive asbestos trains
Union members won't be working on 40 new asbestos containing KiwiRail trains until all the deadly material has been removed, rail workers’ union RMTU has said. Some KiwiRail freight services were cancelled after asbestos was found in a paint sample on the China-made trains.
RMTU NZ news releaseNew Zealand HeraldMSN NZTVNZRadio NZRisks 6458 March 2014

Britain: UNISON backs school asbestos management review
An ‘overdue’ review of asbestos management in schools has been welcomed by UNISON. The Department for Education (DfE) launched the policy review after it was confirmed that children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of asbestos. The consultation, which closes at the end of March, followed extensive lobbying by the Joint Union Asbestos Campaign and the Asbestos in Schools Group - two groups in which UNISON plays a central role.
UNISON news releaseAsbestos management in schools: DfE policy reviewRisks 6458 March 2014

Britain: Bid to reclaim NHS asbestos costs in Scotland
The medical costs of treating people in Scotland who suffer from diseases linked to asbestos could be reclaimed under a new bill. Campaigners have said NHS Scotland spends more than £20m a year diagnosing and treating people from the effects of exposure to asbestos.
Evening TimesDaily RecordHerald ScotlandBBC News OnlineRisks 6441 March 2014

Britain: ‘Cosmetic’ schools survey to ignore asbestos
A survey of schools in England that will ignore asbestos will leave staff and pupils at risk, unions have warned.
UNISON news releaseRisks 6441 March 2014

Thailand: Ministry backs immediate asbestos ban
A ban on asbestos in Thailand could be imminent after the Thai Public Health Ministry (MoPH) last week passed a resolution calling for an immediate prohibition on the use of chrysotile asbestos, the only form of asbestos still legal in the country. Welcoming the government support for an asbestos ban, Thailand Ban Asbestos Network (T-BAN) coordinator Somboon Sreekumdokkae urged politicians and officials to work alongside civil society campaigners.
IBAS news reportRisks 6418 February 2014

Britain: Justice after couple hit by asbestos cancer
Lawyers representing a mum-of-four diagnosed with the same fatal asbestos-related disease that killed her husband say a landmark Court of Appeal ruling granting her full compensation is “a restoration of justice” for asbestos victims. Monica Haxton was awarded £700,000.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release • London Evening Standard • Risks 6401 February 2014

France: Conflicts of interest scandal hits top agency
The French government should block the appointment of a scientist with undeclared asbestos industry links as the head of the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), the country’s leading public health agency, campaigners have said. In a letter to authorities, the National Association of Asbestos Victims (ANDEVA) said the nomination of Paolo Boffetta as head of France’s top institute of epidemiology and public health must be rescinded.
IBAS news reportRightOnCanada news releaseRisks 63925 January 2014

Britain: ‘Immoral’ mesothelioma bill faces more flak
The union GMB has added its voice to widespread criticism of a government bill to compensate victims of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma when no responsible insurer can be found. The union criticised an “attempt by the Department for Work and Pensions to put a positive spin” on the “positively immoral” shortcomings of the Mesothelioma Bill. GMB news releaseRisks 63818 January 2013

Global: UN cancer agency ‘captured’ by industry
A high profile United Nations cancer agency has been ‘captured’ by industry and compromised, new reports suggest. They reveal that two Russian scientists who have acted for Russia’s asbestos lobby around the world are helping fashion the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) policy and publications on asbestos and a paper on asbestos cancer risks with three prominent IARC authors was co-authored by Paolo Boffetta, an ex-IARC staffer who had also acted for the asbestos industry. RightOnCanadaHazards magazineRisks 63711 January 2014

Australia: Unions warn asbestos inaction is ‘a killer’
Unions in Australia have expressed alarm at continuing asbestos imports 10 years after an official ban was introduced. National union federation ACTU was speaking out after it was revealed locomotives and car parts containing asbestos but certified as asbestos-free had entered the country from China.
ACTU news releaseRisks 63711 January 2014

Britain: Government blocks justice for mesothelioma victims
Eight years ago the TUC proposed a no-fault fund of last resort for people who were injured or who developed any disease through work but where their employer had not got insurance, or the insurer could not be traced. Now a coalition government bill, which had been criticised by asbestos disease advocacy groups and unions for is every limited scope – it only compensates one asbestos cancer, mesothelioma - and reduced payouts, had its final stage in the Commons.
TUC Stronger Unions blogNorthern EchoWestern Morning NewsHuddersfield ExaminerRisks 63711 January 2014

Britain: Asbestos scheme is not good enough
Lawyers for people suffering from an always fatal asbestos cancer have said a new compensation scheme is not good enough. The criticism came as the government published details of a scheme it says will award over £350 million over 10 years to around 3,000 mesothelioma victims across the UK who have been prevented from claiming compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer.
DWP news releaseIrwin Mitchell news releasePannone Solicitors news releaseRisks 63514 December 2013

Britain: School workers to complete asbestos survey
The public sector union UNISON is asking its safety reps and stewards in the schools sector to complete a short joint union survey on the management of asbestos. The union says this will form a vital part of the evidence to be presented by the Joint Union Asbestos Committee to the Department for Education's (DfE) review of its policy on asbestos.
UNISON news releaseJoint Union Asbestos Committee survey on asbestos in schoolsUNISON information sheet on asbestosUNISON steps up campaign against asbestos in schoolsRisks 63514 December 2013

India: Asbestos pushers told to push off
The government of India must introduce an immediate ban on asbestos, health professionals and campaigners have said. The Occupational and Environmental Health Network of India (OEHNI) coordinated the international response to an asbestos industry promotional drive in the country that has seen imports of chrysotile asbestos nearly double in six years, with a company event pushing the deadly product in New Delhi this week.
OEHNI news release and 2 December letter to Indian government ministersIBAS reportRightOnCanada reportRisks 6347 December 2013

Britain: Childhood asbestos exposure blamed for cancer
A 61-year-old Wigan woman diagnosed with a deadly asbestos cancer decades after being exposed to the dust has successfully recovered over £70,000 compensation from the Turner & Newall Asbestos Trust. The woman, who lived only 500 yards from the Turner Brothers asbestos factory in Hindley Green as a child in the 1950s and 60s, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos-related cancer, in the autumn of 2012.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseWigan Evening PostJune Hancock Mesothelioma Research FundRisks 63116 November 2013

Britain: Widow gains justice over teacher’s asbestos death
The widow of a teacher who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during 26 years working at an Eastbourne school has spoken of her relief after securing justice from the local council. Clive Beck, who was head of history at Ratton School between 1972 and 1998, died aged 71 in April 2009, around 18 months after he was diagnosed with the incurable cancer.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release • ITV News • SecEd • Risks 630 • 9 November 2013

Britain: Whistleblowers expose asbestos removal dangers
A botched council asbestos removal job only came to light after workers spotted the dangerous work method and reported it. North Warwickshire Borough Council and a Birmingham decorating firm were fined after workers were exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos fibres.
HSE news release • Risks 630 • 9 November 2013

France: Thousands stage ‘die-in’ over asbestos risks
Thousands of people staged a “die-in” in Paris on Saturday 12 October over the failure by authorities to clear workplaces of asbestos. The protesters from all over France lay down in the street outside Sorbonne University in Paris’ Latin Quarter to illustrate dramatically how asbestos exposure claims 3,000 lives per year in the country.
Google NewsRaw Story • Risks 627 • 19 October 2013

Global: Scandals engulf asbestos-backed scientists
Emerging scandals concerns academics in the UK and Canada have exposed the lengths to which the asbestos industry will go to manipulate science and boost its deadly product. A conference last week at McGill University in Canada revealed that one of its most high profile academics, Professor J Corbett McDonald, had received over Can$1 million from the asbestos industry, but had routinely hidden this association when publishing industry-friendly papers; and Edinburgh University’s Professor Ken Donaldson either failed to mention or flatly denied links to firms defending asbestos compensation cases, while receiving payments and writing papers the New York Supreme court found were “intended to cast doubt on the capability of chrysotile [white] asbestos to cause cancer.”
RightOnCanada blog • David Egilman’s full presentation: The Past is Prologue, Universities in Service to Corporations: The McGill-QAMA Asbestos ExampleMontreal GazetteA very particular crime, Hazards magazine special report, September 2013. NatureThe Scotsman • Risks 626 12 October 2013

Britain: Schools asbestos protections could be cut
Unions have called on the government to give ‘cast iron assurances’ that budget cuts will not undermine the strategy to address asbestos risks in schools. Fears that an influential steering group set up to manage and monitor the impact of asbestos in schools is to be disbanded, has led to widespread anger and concern by unions who form the joint union asbestos campaign (JUAC).
NUT news releaseUNISON news releaseThe GuardianRisks 6292 November 2013

Global: Victims want honour stripped from asbestos boss
Seventeen years after Yale University gave Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny an honorary doctorate of humane letters for environmental stewardship, a group of asbestos disease survivors and family members of asbestos cancer victims in Italy is asking the university to revoke the degree. On 3 June of this year an appeals court in Turin upheld extended Schmidheiny’s jail term from 16 to 18 years for the involuntary manslaughter of thousands by his family firm, former asbestos giant Eternit.
Corporate Crime ReporterThe Hartford Courant. Asbestos in the DockRisks 625 5 October 2013

Britain: Charities furious at one-sided asbestos consultation
Asbestos charities have expressed their fury to justice minister Helen Grant over what they believe is the excessive influence of the insurance industry on the government’s cancer compensation policy. In a 23 September meeting, the groups told justice minister Helen Grant the “partisan” consultation ‘Reforming Mesothelioma Claims’ would disadvantage people suffering from the always fatal asbestos cancer, mesothelioma.
Asbestos Forum news releasePost OnlineRisks 62428 September 2013

Britain: Two companies fined after admitting asbestos crimes
A leading British dairy products company and a Manchester welding company have been fined for exposing employees to material containing the killer dust asbestos at an industrial site in Devon. Dairy Crest, one of the top 250 companies listed on the London Stock exchange, was prosecuted on Friday 13 September alongside Rochdale Electric Welding Company Limited (REWCO), of Middleton, Greater Manchester, after the HSE identified failings with the planning of the job and a lack of training for workers involved. HSE press releaseRisks 62321 September 2013

Canada: Justice sought with new asbestos registry
The union representing people who worked at a notorious asbestos mine on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula is demanding changes to eligibility criteria that prevented most of them from receiving compensation. The United Steelworkers union (USW) says health information gathered by the Baie Verte miners' registry shows people were unfairly denied compensation for diseases caused by exposure to chrysotile, or white, asbestos.
Baie Verte Miners Registry and Out of the fog film explaining the background to the registry. CBC News. March 2009 USW news release giving the background to the registry’s creation • TUC news releaseRisks 62214 September 2013

Britain: Students rooms contain asbestos
At least 17,000 students slept in university bedrooms that contained asbestos last year, official figures have revealed. Although universities have asbestos management procedures, campaigners have raised concerns that students may not report damaged asbestos because they do not know it is there.
The GuardianRisks 62031 August 2013

Britain: Family seeks clues on woman’s asbestos death 
The family of Bristol woman who died from an asbestos-related lung cancer is appealing for information from people who may have worked alongside her. Marlene Vile, whose maiden name was Tilzey, died in February after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in September 2012.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 61924 August 2013

Australia: Unions welcome new asbestos cash
Unions in Australia have welcomed a cash injection from the federal government for the new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency. The additional Aus$6.4m (£3.8m) has been provided to the agency to allow it to implement a National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management.
ACTU news releaseMinister for Workplace Relations news releaseNational Strategic Plan and National AgencyRisks 6163 August 2013

Britain: Thousands lose out because of cruel asbestos law
Campaigners fighting for compensation for asbestos victims have warned the government that thousands of people will be denied justice if it doesn’t strengthen its new Mesothelioma Bill. Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum chair Tony Whitston said that the mesothelioma sufferers and their families were “bitterly disappointed” at the insurers' refusal to pay 100 per cent compensation and to backdate those payments to at least February 2010.
Morning StarGet SurreyIBAS Mesothelioma Day round-upRisks 61527 July 2013

Global: So much for ‘safe’ asbestos use
More than 800 tons of asbestos from Russia were “dumped” eight months ago at the Mexican Gulf coast port of Veracruz, after an importer failed to pay storage fees. Russia, which now fronts the global asbestos lobby, claims asbestos exports should continue because the carcinogenic fibre is used safely in its destination countries.
Latin American Herald TribuneRisks 61420 July 2013

Britain: Developer escapes jail over asbestos crimes
A property developer who exposed workers to asbestos has been given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and been ordered to pay fines and costs of £100,000. Nottingham Crown Court heard that James Roger Carlton, 64, ignored the presence of asbestos insulation board at the site of the former King Edward VI School in Retford, despite being advised by the Health and Safety Executive on several occasions about how to address the risk.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 61420 July 2013

Britain: The female face of Britain's asbestos catastrophe
A new piece of digital artwork by Colombian artist Guillermo Villamizar, ‘The female face of Britain's asbestos catastrophe’, has been inspired by the London-based International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS).
The female face of Britain's asbestos catastropheRisks 61313 July 2013

Global: Asbestos trade up by 20 per cent
Global asbestos exports increased from 1,081,885 tons in 2011 to 1,327,592 tons in 2012, latest figures show. Canadian human rights campaigner Kathleen Ruff, writing on the Prevent Cancer Now website, puts the continuing trade in asbestos down to an industry public relations strategy that saw large sums of cash handed to researchers who were industry stooges.
Prevent Cancer Now reportHazards asbestos webpagesRisks 6126 July 2013

Britain: UNISON resources on asbestos in schools
Public sector union UNISON says it is ready to ratchet up its campaign against asbestos in schools and has prepared a series of documents to help activists, reps and parents who are concerned about the issue.
UNISON alert and guides: Asbestos in schools - checklist for parents; Asbestos in CLASP or system-built schools; and Joint union advice on warm-air heating systemsRisks 6126 July 2013

Global: The road to asbestos free workplaces
‘The long and winding road to an asbestos free workplace’ maps out the tortuous route towards a worldwide asbestos ban. The book, authored by some of the most prominent union and grassroots campaigners on asbestos, says in Europe the ban on asbestos needs to be complemented by pro-active inspection, identification and mapping of contamination; it adds that outside of Europe, the safety in use ‘fairy tale’ used to justify exports has to be exposed and the trade in the deadly fibre finally stopped.
The long and winding road to an asbestos free workplace, Jan Cremers and Rolf Gehring (editors), CLR Studies 7, 2013. Order enquiries: email Global Book Marketing⁄Central Books or phone 020 8533 5800 • Risks 6126 July 2013

Australia: Asbestos eradication law takes effect
Groundbreaking measures to protect Australians from asbestos have become law. Minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten welcomed the passing of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill 2013 by the Australian parliament. Employment minister’s news releaseRisks 61129 June 2013

Britain: Health board done for asbestos failings
A Scottish health board has been fined for safety failings that left workers and contractors at risk from deadly asbestos fibres. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that Greater Glasgow Health Board, known as Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS, had failed to properly manage the risks of asbestos in a basement plant room of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.
HSE news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 61129 June 2013

Britain: Children face a greater risk from asbestos exposure
A heavyweight government scientific advisory committee has concluded that children are far more vulnerable to asbestos exposure than adults. The Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (CoC) was asked for advice on the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos to inform discussions of the Department for Education's Asbestos in Schools Steering Group.
Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) Statement on the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos compared to adults, June 2013 • JUAC news releaseATL news releaseNUT news releaseITV NewsRisks 60915 June 2013

Britain: Mum dies from asbestos cancer that killed her dad
A mother-of-three who contracted cancer from childhood cuddles with her father in his asbestos-covered overalls has died. A globally respected asbestos campaigner, Debbie Brewer, 53, spent seven years battling mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos-related cancer.
BBC News OnlineITV NewsThe SunThe Daily MailADAO report
Debbie’s Mesothelioma and Me blog • Risks 60915 June 2013

Italy: Billionaire Swiss asbestos killer gets longer sentence
A billionaire Swiss industrialist convicted for his part in Italy's biggest asbestos scandal has had his jail sentence lengthened to 18 years, in a ruling campaigners said would set a precedent for workplace safety lawsuits. Stephan Schmidheiny, found guilty of negligence that led to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths, was also ordered to pay millions of euros in damages to local authorities, victims and their families by an appeals court in Turin.
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat news reportAsbestos in the Dock report. Yahoo NewsRisks 6088 June 2013

Britain: Northern TUC says Mesothelioma Bill needs change
The TUC Northern Asbestos Support & Campaign Group, has warned that the government's Mesothelioma Bill will exclude hundreds of people with the fatal asbestos-related cancer and leave others short-changed. Instead of providing protection for all industrial disease victims as unions had called for, it limits support to mesothelioma only, imposes an arbitrary eligibility cut-off date of 25 July 2012 and is expected only to pay only 70 per cent of average compensation.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • Risks 6071 June 2013

Britain: Unions force U-turn on asbestos report
A joint campaign by education unions has led to the HSE agreeing to release a report on asbestos contamination in a Welsh school. Cwmcarn High School, Caerphilly, was closed in October 2012 after it was found that asbestos fibres were being released from the school's heaters into the classrooms.
JUAC statement.Risks 6071 June 2013

Britain: Retired shipyard worker gets lung disease
A former Tyneside shipyard worker has developed a disabling lung condition caused by asbestos. GMB member Thomas Hepple, 72, from North Shields, was diagnosed with pleural thickening – a debilitating lung disease – after suffering severe chest pain and breathlessness in May 2010.
Thompsons Solicitors news release •  Risks 606 • 25 May 2013

Britain: Washing overalls led to wife’s asbestos death
A grieving husband whose wife died as a result of exposure to asbestos from his overalls has received a £187,500 payout. Mother-of-three Yvonne Moaby died at her home in Quenington from mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by asbestos, in May 2010.
The StandardRisks 60411 May 2013

Global: Toxic exports convention ‘in crisis’
Outraged civil society groups attending the Rotterdam Convention conference in Geneva last week have said the convention was hijacked by industry interests. For the fourth time, a handful of countries allied to the asbestos industry have refused to allow chrysotile asbestos to be added to the Convention’s list of hazardous substances that require exporters to obtain ‘prior informed consent’ from the importer; listing of the pesticide paraquat was also blocked.
RightOnCanada news releaseIBAS news reportJoint news release by the Berne Declaration, PAN, IPEN and IUF  • Risks 60518 May 2013

Britain: Government to introduced cut-back asbestos scheme
The government is set to introduce a long-delayed compensation scheme for asbestos victims. But plans have now been downgraded so only victims of one asbestos-related condition, mesothelioma, diagnosed after July 2012, will be eligible and payouts will be lower than originally planned too, with an estimated 300 people a year receiving compensation at about 70 per cent of the level paid where the insurer can be found.
UCATT news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseThe Independent. Northern EchoRisks 60411 May 2013

Global: London protest challenges Russia on asbestos
Russia’s support for global asbestos trade has been exposed by Putin-masked protesters in a union-backed action outside its London embassy. Russia, the world’s largest asbestos exporter, is expected to join with Zimbabwe to block new rules on chrysotile asbestos exports when they are discussed by government representatives on 7 May.
GMB news releaseIBAS news reportRightOnCanada news release and appeal from asbestos victims worldwideRisks 6034 May 2013

Britain: GMB calls for school asbestos surveys
Everyone with children at school and those who work in our schools must ensure the school heating system has been checked by an authorised asbestos surveyor, the union GMB has urged.
GMB news releaseRisks 6034 May 2013

Britain: Asbestos alert on school heaters
Unions this week sent an urgent warning to schools, urging them to check whether they have warm air cabinet heaters that could contain asbestos. The warning from the Joint Union Asbestos Committee follows the discovery of asbestos in warm air cabinet heaters in Cwmcarn High School in Wales in October 2012, which led to the school’s closure.
NUT news releaseJUAC websiteRisks 60227 April 2013

Britain: Asbestos scarred shipworker’s lungs
A Unite member from Ross Shire has received compensation from six of his former employers after he was diagnosed with the debilitating lung-scarring condition asbestosis. The 79-year-old, whose name has not been released, was exposed to asbestos while working as an apprentice gas fitter and then for several shipyards. Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 60120 April 2013

Britain: ‘Shocking’ truth about classroom asbestos
Children and teachers are still at risk of developing cancer due to asbestos-riddled classrooms, the National Union of Teachers has warned. The union is demanding urgent action after Department for Education officials told the Commons education committee that the government's policy was to “contain and actively manage asbestos and for its removal to be carried out correctly and safely (for example when buildings are demolished or refurbished, or when damage means that asbestos is no longer safely contained).”
NUT news releaseMorning StarRisks 599 • 30 March 2013

USA: WSJ attack on asbestos victims criticised
The Wall Street Journal has been criticised for portraying asbestos compensation “fraud” as the “troubling underside” of a system that has forced asbestos companies into bankruptcy. In an 11 March article, which is riddled with basic errors, uses the fraud claim as a hook to give column inches to a Republican-backed ‘Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency" bill.
Huffington PostWall Street JournalCorporate Action NetworkRisks 59823 March 2013

Australia: Asbestos eradication bill introduced
A draft law aiming to ‘eradicate’ asbestos in Australia has been introduced to the national parliament. Employment minister Bill Shorten said the legislation would establish an Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.
News release from minister for employment Bill ShortenThe Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill and explanatory memorandumRisks 59823 March 2013

Europe: Agreement to ‘eradicate’ asbestos for good
The European Parliament has agreed to ‘eradicate’ asbestos by 2028. The resolution, adopted by the parliament on 14 March with a 558 to 51 majority, calls for the implementation of a co-ordinated European Union (EU) strategy to remove all asbestos.
S&D news releaseRisks 59716 March 2013

Pakistan: Asbestos lobby guilty of ‘deadly’ deception
The front organisation for the global asbestos industry has been accused of using ‘deadly, deceptive’ methods to try and derail moves to ban chrysotile asbestos in Pakistan. Human rights campaign group RightOnCanada was commenting on a letter from Jean-Marc Leblond, chair of the International Chrysotile Association (ICA), to Pakistan’s influential Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
RightsOnCancer.ca report and ICA letterRisks 5952 March 2013

Britain: Welcome for schools asbestos probe
The union GMB has welcomed a call for evidence by the House of Commons Education Select Committee on the issues around asbestos in schools. The parliamentary committee will hear evidence on 13 March.
GMB news releaseRisks 595 2 March 2013

Britain: Bathroom appliance maker in asbestos payout
A Bathroom appliance manufacturer has paid compensation to a former employee who developed an incurable asbestos disease. Unite supported the claim by Eli Richards, 79, from Great Wyrley, Walsall when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2011.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 5952 March 2013

Global: Official agencies stung into asbestos action
A United Nations health agency, stung by allegations it had too close a relationship with the asbestos industry, has issued a statement confirming its support for an end to all asbestos use. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), was responding to a 2 February article in the medical journal The Lancet.
Joint WHO-IARC Statement in response to the recent Lancet report: end all use of asbestos, 19 February 2013. RightOnCanada.ca commentary. Rotterdam Convention meeting, 28 April-10 May 2013Risks 59423 February 2013

Global: Cancer agency criticised over asbestos ties
Alleged links between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the asbestos industry have been condemned on the eve of a crucial UN conference. A report  in the medical journal The Lancet examines a series of recent decisions by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that have triggered a storm of protest from governments, non-governmental organisations, and health campaigners.
IARC in the dock over ties with asbestos industry, The Lancet, volume 381, issue 9864, pages 359-361, 2 February 2013. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60152-X. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat reportRisks 5929 February 2012

Britain: Brum builder fined for illegal asbestos work
A Birmingham builder has been prosecuted after he exposed himself and potentially young children and their parents to asbestos on the street where he lives. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Nicholas Sharpe, trading as Sharpe Builders, after he illegally removed and broke up asbestos panels from a home in Castle Bromwich.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 5929 February 2012

Britain: Architect in deadly asbestos oversight
An architects' practice has been prosecuted after builders were potentially exposed to asbestos fibres during construction work at Aberystwyth Rugby Club in Mid-Wales. Aberystwyth Magistrates heard that Dilwyn Roberts Penseiri/Architects Ltd failed to pass on vital information about the presence of asbestos insulation board to builders before they removed soffits from an end wall at the clubhouse in January 2012.
HSE news releaseRisks 5929 February 2012

Britain: Washing overalls killed mum
The son of a woman who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his dad’s former work colleagues to help investigate his working conditions. It is believed Elsie Winter his was exposed to asbestos dust washing her husband’s work clothes.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Anyone with information about the working conditions at Chilton Council between March 1966 and April 1986 should email Roger Maddocks at Irwin Mitchell or call 0191 2790095 • Risks 5929 February 2012

Britain: Unions continue to benefit asbestos families
An advice service supported by unions had secured approaching £1 million for asbestos victims in northern England since September 2012. The Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group says in addition to one-off compensation payments totalling £311,643.00 for asbestos victims in the northern region, it has also sorted out welfare benefits payments of in excess of £105,000 per month for victims and their families.
TUC news releaseRisks 5929 February 2012

Britain: UNISON launches an asbestos exposure database
UNISON has become the latest union to run an asbestos exposure database. According to the public service union, “the new asbestos exposure database will help secure compensation for affected members, adding it “is of benefit because the time between being exposed to the fibres and developing an asbestos related disease can be a significant number of years.”
UNISON news reportRisks 59026 January 2013

Britain: Hospital asbestos killed nurse
The family of a former nurse who suffered a ‘heartbreaking’ death from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for her former colleagues to come forward with information about her working conditions. Joyce Smith died from mesothelioma in March 2012 aged 86 after a nine month battle with the incurable condition.
Irwin Mitchell news releaseRisks 58919 January 2013

Britain: Insurance firms oppose NHS asbestos refund law
Legislation to refund the NHS in Wales for the cost of treating asbestos sufferers is unnecessary and impractical, insurance firms have said. Proposals going through the Welsh assembly would force businesses to pay the medical costs of workers who develop asbestos related diseases as a result of exposures at work.
BBC News OnlineRecovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill. Welsh Assembly Health and Social Care Committee meeting, 10 January 2013Risks 58919 January 2013

Britain: Pupils and school staff exposed to asbestos
Staffordshire County Council and a refurbishment firm have been fined for exposing a nursery class, school staff and two joiners to asbestos fibres. Rugeley firm G Evans (Services) Ltd was refurbishing Glenthorne Community Primary School in Cheslyn Hay for the council when the incident happened on Friday, 13 February 2009.
HSE news release and ‘Hidden Killer’ asbestos resourcesRisks 58722 December 2012

Britain: Retired train driver gets work cancer
A train driver who was exposed to asbestos has received a ‘substantial’ payout after he was diagnosed with a devastating occupational disease. Robin Gould from Westbury, Wiltshire was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2012 after suffering from breathlessness.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 58722 December 2012

Britain: Second payout after deadly work disease progressed
The family a chemical worker who died after years suffering from a debilitating asbestos-related disease has received a second compensation payout. The 75-year-old from Cheshire, whose name has not been released, died from a heart attack in May 2012.
Thompsons SolicitorsRisks 5841 December 2012

Britain: Refurb job led to asbestos exposures
Safety failures by plumbing company Superior Plumbing Installations Ltd may have led to two workers being exposed to asbestos fibres during a major refurbishment project on flats in Aberystwyth. The workers - a site manager and a subcontractor - were not provided with information about the presence of asbestos while working at the flats from November 2010 to February 2011.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 58615 December 2012

Britain: Shipwright compensated for pleural thickening
A former shipwright and union rep diagnosed with a disabling lung condition has received ‘substantial’ compensation in a union-backed compensation case. GMB member Robert Kemp, 75, from Sunderland diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening, a condition related to asbestos exposure.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 58615 December 2012

Welsh plan new 'polluter pays' law on asbestos
Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw, has introduced a bill in the Welsh aimed at introducing a law to force businesses and insurers to foot NHS medical bills for asbestos victims. He said: “The Bill will enable the Welsh government to recover the cost of the medical treatment in cases where legal liability for the disease has been established.”
BMA noticeRisks 5858 December 2012

Australia: Unions plan for global asbestos ban
The Australian government must use its influence to curtail the international trade in asbestos, national union federation ACTU has said. ACTU president Ged Kearney made the call as the union body prepared to welcome a delegation of trade unionists from Canada, Laos and India.
ACTU news releaseRisks 58324 November 2012

Britain: Judge rules building occupier is liable for cancer
A 65-year-old London man has received compensation of £205,000 after a legal judgment against the firm on whose premises he was exposed to asbestos, rather than against his employer. Frank Baker worked as a lagger’s labourer for Climax Insulation & Packing Limited in the early 1960s, working for five weeks at the Tate & Lyle sugar factory in Silvertown, London, where he was exposed to asbestos.
Leigh Day & Co news releaseRisks 58324 November 2012

Australia: Lying asbestos directors lose appeal
Seven former directors of the one-time asbestos giant James Hardie have lost an appeal in the Australian courts to scrap penalties and disqualifications, ending a marathon legal battle over a 2001 board decision to release misleading information to the Australian Stock Exchange about the adequacy of a compensation fund for asbestos victims.
ABC NewsThe HeraldRisks 58217 November 2012

Britain: Demolition firm removed asbestos illegally
A Cheltenham demolition company has been prosecuted after exposing its own workers to dangerous asbestos fibres and illegally removing asbestos waste from a property in Gloucester. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted DA Environmental Services Ltd at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court for three breaches of regulations relating to asbestos removal.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 58110 November 2012

Britain: Teachers can call the asbestos register
Teaching union NASWUWT has set up an asbestos exposure register “to assist those worried about exposure to asbestos in Welsh schools.” NASUWT says the new asbestos register, which is accompanied by an asbestos guide, will help people in the event they ever develop an asbestos-related disease.
NASUWT news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 58110 November 2012

Britain: Unions secure official schools asbestos guide
Union pressure has led to the government publishing new online asbestos guidance for school chiefs. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) said the new guide from the Department for Education (DfE) is “a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos
Asbestos guidance for schools, DfE, 2012. JUAC news releaseGMB news releaseMorning StarRisks 58110 November 2012

Britain: Welsh asbestos campaign launched
Following the closure of Cwmcarn school in Caerphilly after claims that children may have been exposed to asbestos, a campaign for a national database of schools' asbestos has been launched. The Parents' Right To Know campaign wants information on the levels of asbestos, and its condition, in every school in Wales.
Wales OnlineRisks 5803 November 2012

Britain: Unions press for schools asbestos audit
Schools cannot be left to self-regulate on safety and the government must order a national audit of asbestos in all UK schools, education unions have said. Commenting in the wake of a school asbestos contamination controversy in Wales, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), said the government should follow the lead of the Welsh Assembly and order an audit of asbestos in all UK schools.
UNISON news releaseNUT news releaseATL news releaseJUAC webpageRisks 579 • 27 October 2012

Britain: Union forces council asbestos rethink
A union’s criticism of ‘misinformed’ statements on asbestos risk on a council website has led to the offending passages being removed. Construction union UCATT last week condemned the ‘outrageous’ safety advice given out by Caerphilly council after the discovery of the asbestos contamination which led to the closure of Cwmcarn High School.
UCATT news releaseMorning StarRisks 579 • 27 October 2012

Britain: HSE is seeking to outsource asbestos campaign
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to outsource the next phase of its campaign to warn the public about the life-threatening danger of asbestos. This week marketing trade magazine PR Week reported it believed three briefs have been drawn up for agencies to lead the communications work, provide insight and offer partnership marketing.
PR WeekHazards magazine20 October 2012

Britain: Closure leads to asbestos surveys of all Welsh schools
Emergency asbestos surveys will be carried out at schools across Wales after the closure of Cwmcarn High School. The school in south Wales was shut last week following the discovery of asbestos contamination, with 900 pupils sent home.
NASUWT news releaseCaerphilly County Borough Council webpage on Cwmcarn High School and asbestos • South Wales ArgusBBC News OnlineConstruction EnquirerRisks 57820 October 2012

Britain: Asbestos widow driven to a nervous breakdown
A Bradford woman who has won a six-year compensation battle over her husband’s death from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma says no amount of money will ever repay her for the toll it has taken on her own health. Margaret Cooper, who suffered a nervous breakdown after dealing with her husband’s illness and death, will find out in November from the High Court exactly how much she will be awarded in a legal case backed by the construction union UCATT.
Telegraph & ArgusRisks 5766 October 2012

Canada: Government ends asbestos safety veto
The Canadian government has announced it will no longer oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the ‘prior informed consent’ export rules of the Rotterdam Convention. It followed another blow for the industry, when the new Quebec government of Pauline Marois stated that it will cancel the $58 million (£36.7m) loan, given by the previous provincial government to three investors intending to open the Jeffrey underground mine and export millions of tons of asbestos to Asia.
BWI news releaseRightsOnCanadaNational Public RadioToronto Star Risks 57422 September 2012

Britain: Asbestos criminal escapes jail
The director of a south London firm has been given a suspended jail sentence, a curfew and community service after removing asbestos from a house without a licence and deceiving the householders by providing a doctored air test saying the room was safe to re-enter. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the circumstances of the incident and brought the prosecution against Peter Horrey under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 57422 September 2012

Australia: Union welcome asbestos eradication plan
The creation of a new national agency to oversee the management and removal of asbestos is an important step towards eradicating all asbestos from Australia by 2030, unions have said. Michael Borowick, assistant secretary of the national union federation ACTU, said the new Office for Asbestos Safety must move quickly to implement a plan to make Australia asbestos-free within two decades.
ACTU news releaseWorkplace Relations Minister’s news releaseABC NewsRisks 5728 September 2012

Britain: Firms guilty over mill asbestos danger
Two companies have been prosecuted after workers were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres at a mill in Bolton. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against mill owner Hazelwise Ltd and letting agent RH Property Management Ltd after finding dozens of damaged asbestos boards stacked up at Brownlow Mill during a visit on 20 October 2010.
HSE news release and asbestos webpageRisks 5711 September 2012

Britain: Firms overlooked hospital asbestos risks
Two Lincoln companies have been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos during the refurbishment of a Northamptonshire hospital ward. Contractors Simons Construction Ltd and Rilmac Insulation Ltd both pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence, after asbestos insulation boards damaged by unwitting and unprotected workers.
HSE news release and asbestos webpageRisks 5711 September 2012

Canada: Asbestos mine suffers financial crisis
Less than two months after the Quebec government gave the Jeffrey asbestos mine a $58 million loan it is in financial crisis, according to weblog RightOnCanada. The mine, in the Canadian town of Asbestos, was once the world's biggest asbestos mine and was given a rescue package by the Quebec government earlier this year, causing outrage among campaign groups (Risks 563).
Risks 57025 August 2012

Global: Indian unions outraged at Canadian asbestos push
Indian trade unions have called on the nation’s leaders to ban asbestos immediately to thwart an ‘immoral’ Canadian plan to flood Asia with the lethal fibre. The unions said they are ‘outraged’ by the Quebec government’s decision to underwrite a new asbestos mine that plans to export of over 5 million tonnes of cancer causing chrysotile asbestos to developing countries.
BWI news releaseRisks 56811 August 2012

Britain: New asbestos fund must be extended say unions
A new government fund to compensate some asbestos disease victims is much too limited, the TUC has said. The union body said the fund announced this week is limited to people who have the cancer mesothelioma but who until now have been unable to claim because their employer no longer exists and the responsible insurer cannot be traced.
TUC news releaseDWP news releaseUCATT news releaseRisks 56628 July 2012

Britain: New scheme excludes half of asbestos victims
A new tariff scheme designed to plug a loophole that denies many asbestos victims compensation will not cover half of those affected, a campaign group has warned. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum says the scheme is flawed, excluding those suffering from asbestosis, pleural thickening and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Morning StarDerby TelegraphRisks 56628 July 2012

Britain: Government ‘turns its back on asbestos victims’
The union Unite has slammed the government for turning its back on many victims of asbestos exposure who cannot trace employers' liability insurance. It believes the scheme announced this week by the government falls short because it excludes asbestos disease victims other than those with one cancer, mesothelioma, and says even those who receive payouts will get far less than a court would have awarded where an insurer could be traced.
Unite news releaseRisks 56628 July 2012

Britain: Asbestos job exposed work experience teen
A teenager on work experience was part of a construction team exposed to asbestos during a botched removal job at a top public school. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sherborne School and Peter Eldridge, the director of the company responsible for the refurbishment project, after an investigation found they had failed to identify and prevent the risk of asbestos exposure at the school.
HSE news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 56521 July 2012

Prime minister is ‘totally opposed’ to asbestos trade
The UK government deplores Canada’s plans to produce millions of tonnes of asbestos for export to the developing world, David Cameron has indicated. The response to Labour’s Jim Dobbin came at prime minister’s questions on 11 July.
Prime minister’s questions, Hansard, 11 July 2012 • International Ban Asbestos SecretariatRisks 56521 July 2012

Britain: Cleaner killed by asbestos in council flats
A cleaner died of cancer as a result of being exposed to asbestos in council flats. The 58-year-old from Kent, whose name has not been released, was exposed to the dust whilst working as a cleaner for a London council from 1976 to 1988.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 56414 July 2012

Global: Outrage at new asbestos mine in Canada
Asbestos victims have joined a global chorus of disapproval at a decision by authorities in Canada to underwrite the development costs of a giant new asbestos mine.  On 29 June, the provincial government in Quebec announced it would provide a multimillion dollar loan guarantee to allow the reopening and expansion of the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseInternational Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS)
National PostToronto StarGlobe and MailMineweb.comRisks 5637 July 2012

Canada: Feds knew ‘safe’ asbestos was a lie
Canada’s federal government acknowledged years ago that the dangers of chrysotile asbestos warranted limits on its export - but still fought against international restrictions over the past decade – according to official internal records.
Vancouver SunRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Asbestos compensation timebomb for academies
Academy and free school governors have been warned that they are legally and financially liable for occupational diseases linked to asbestos exposure in their schools. The Asbestos in Schools (AiS) group says that some academies have been led to believe that they have full public liability insurance to cover pupils for asbestos exposure risks when in fact “the wording in policies fails to give that cover”.
SecEdAsbestos in SchoolsIrwin Mitchell news releaseRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Director fined after failing to control asbestos
A Brighton estate management director has been fined after failing to manage the spread of asbestos during the demolition of a building. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Brian Marshall, 44, managing director of Supply on Demand Ltd, for breaching asbestos safety regulations.
HSE news release and duty to manage asbestos webpagesRisks 56016 June 2012  

Britain: Warning on ‘hidden killer’ in schools
UNISON is calling for urgent action to protect education staff from the dangers posed by asbestos in schools. The union was speaking out after a school caretaker and member of UNISON died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
UNISON news releaseRisks 55726 May 2012

Britain: School plumber gets mesothelioma payout
A former plumber has received more than £245,000 in compensation after being diagnosed with a deadly asbestos cancer. The 62-year-old GMB member from Whitchurch, Cardiff, was exposed to asbestos while working as an apprentice plumber for Cardiff Corporation, later known as Cardiff County Council, from 1965 to 1970. Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 55726 May 2012

Thailand: Asbestos supporters ‘are liars’
The asbestos industry has turned its promotional efforts towards Thailand, with critics saying it is using lies emblazoned on t-shirts to drive home its asbestos-is-good-for-you message. Laurie Allen of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) notes that “it comes as no surprise that asbestos vested interests in Thailand are liars.”
IBAS reportBangkok PostRisks 55512 May 2012

Australia: Asbestos criminal duped the stock exchange
Seven former directors of Australian building materials giant James Hardie misled the Australian Stock Exchange about the company’s ability to fund compensation claims from asbestos victims, the High Court has ruled. The High Court appeal by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission found that former chair Meredith Hellicar and ex-directors Michael Brown, Michael Gillfillan, Martin Koffel, Dan O'Brien, Greg Terry and Peter Wilcox approved misleading and deceptive statements about the company’s ability to meet its asbestos compensation liabilities.
ACTU news releaseAMWU news releaseABC NewsRisks 55512 May 2012

Global: Top asbestos industry lobby group folds
The organisation that has for decades spearheaded the asbestos industry’s global sales drive has folded. The closure of the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute has been welcomed by unions and asbestos campaigners.
CLC statementInternational Ban Asbestos SecretariatChrysotile Institute notice of intention to surrender its charter, Canada Gazette • Montreal GazetteRisks 5545 May 2012

Britain: Firefighter compensated for asbestos cancer
A former firefighter who was exposed to asbestos at work and recently developed an incurable cancer has received compensation with help from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). John Stone, 64, was diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma in March 2011.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 55328 April 2012

Britain: Disease campaigners win asbestos reprieve
The government has said it will for the moment exempt people suffering from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma from highly contentious measures in its legal reforms. The concession came after a well-organised national campaign co-ordinated by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK (AVSGF), which argued the changes in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill would deny justice to victims of often fatal occupational diseases.
AVSGF news release [pdf] • Commons debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, 24 April 2012, Hansard report • Risks 55328 April 2012

Britain: Parent firm liable for work-related disease
An asbestosis sufferer from London has won an historic case at the Court of Appeal against former global asbestos giant Cape plc. Law firm Leigh Day & Co says the ‘landmark’ judgment sets a new legal precedent for holding parent companies accountable for work-related health problems in employees of their subsidiaries.
Leigh Day & Co news releaseUxbridge GazetteRisks 55328 April 2012

Britain: Dad’s asbestos-ridden clothes killed daughter
A mother-of-two died of cancer because she used to welcome her shipyard worker father home from work each night with a hug. Annette Bhatti, who was just 49, also helped her ill mother to scrub her father’s asbestos contaminated work uniform by hand more than 40 years ago.
Daily MailDaily StarDaily MirrorRisks 5507 April 2012

Britain: Heart disease risk for asbestos workers
Workers exposed to asbestos as part of their job are at a significantly greater risk of heart disease and stroke than the general population, with women more likely to be affected than men, according to new research. The study was conducted by researchers at the Health and Safety Executive’s research arm, HSL, and was published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Anne-Helen Harding and others. Cardiovascular disease mortality among British asbestos workers (1971–2005), Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online 2 April 2012. doi:10.1136/oemed-2011-100313
Daily MailScotsmanNursing in PracticeRisks 5507 April 2012

Britain: Unions welcome improved asbestos rights
Unions have reiterated their ‘delight’ at last week’s Supreme Court ruling which will allow many more asbestos victims to receive compensation for related cancers. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), which includes the six main education unions, said the ‘landmark’ decision “means that thousands of families will be able to seek compensation for the loss of loved ones.
JUAC news release [pdf] and websiteThe GuardianRisks 5507 April 2012

Britain: Improved asbestos law takes effect
In an unrelated move, a new asbestos at work law took effect on 6 April. The changes to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations extends the law’s protection to a wider group of workers, after European Commission lawmakers indicated the UK’s law was too restrictive to meet minimum Europe-wide requirements.
Unite alert on changes to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations [pdf] • 7 April 2012

Britain: Dust disease widow’s information plea
The widow of a Durham man who died from a debilitating disease caused by asbestos dust just a week before their golden wedding is appealing for his former colleagues to come forward to help shed light on conditions where he worked. Thomas William Flower died in October last year from the lung scarring disease asbestosis, which was diagnosed after the 74-year-old’s death following a four year battle with illness.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseNorthern Echo • Anyone who can help is asked to call Isobel Lovett at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0104 • Risks 54931 March 2012

Britain: Asbestos victory at the Supreme Court
A Supreme Court ruling which this week found against insurance companies that had been seeking to deny compensation to the victims of asbestos cancers has been welcomed by unions.
TUC news releaseUnite news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 54931 March 2012

Britain: Relief at asbestos trigger case victory
Relatives and supporters of victims of asbestos cancers have expressed relief at a Supreme Court ruling which ends a six year block on many compensation payouts. The court rejected an argument from four insurers - Excess Insurance, MMI, Builders Accident and Independent Insurance Company - that the date when an asbestos cancer develops should be the date when the insurer’s liability is triggered.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseJohn Pickering Solicitors news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 54931 March 2012

Britain: Cases expose ongoing asbestos disease crisis
The ongoing risk posed by asbestos exposure has been illustrated by two recent mesothelioma cases, affecting a school caretaker and a wife exposed to the fibre on her husband’s work clothes.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseGloucester CitizenRisks 54931 March 2012

Britain: Lords vote down ‘cruel’ legal aid move
Dying victims of occupa tional cancers should not be penalised as a consequence as a government’s drive to trim £350m of the legal aid bill by 2015, peers have said. An amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill blocking government plans to force asbestos victims to use some of their damages to pay legal bills succeeded this week in the House of Lords.
House of Lords debate, 14 March 2012, Hansard. BBC News OnlineYorkshire Evening PostRisks 54717 March 2012

Britain: Sock firm hit by asbestos fine
A sock company in Carmarthenshire has been fined £25,000 after being found guilty of failing to protect its employees from asbestos. Corgi Hosiery Ltd, which makes socks for Prince Charles, hired unqualified contractors to carry out work on the roof of its Ammanford factory.
HSE news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 54610 March 2012

Britain: Washing work clothes killed woman
A woman died of asbestos cancer aged 56 as a result of washing her husband's asbestos-covered work clothes for a decade. Jill Bolstridge would shake off the dirt from overalls worn by her husband James – who worked at Derby engineering firm S Robinson and Sons – before putting them in the washing machine.
Derby TelegraphRisks 5453 March 2012

Italy: Big jail terms for asbestos killings
Two former executives of a Swiss building products conglomerate have been convicted in Italy of causing the asbestos-related deaths of more than 3,000 people. The defendants, the former owner of the Eternit conglomerate Stephan Schmidheiny and Belgian baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, a major shareholder in the firm, were each sentenced in Turin to 16 years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat blogiWatch NewsCNNEuronewsBBC News OnlineSwissinfoRisks 54318 February 2012

Britain: Asbestos killed school worker
A school cleaner and caretaker died as a result of exposure to asbestos throughout her career, an inquest has heard. Brenda Ann Butcher, 65, was diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma on 7 March last year and died on 26 April 2011.
South Wales ArgusRisks 54318 February 2012

Britain: Government confirms schools asbestos inaction
The government has confirmed it is not intending to the take the ‘urgent’ action needed to control asbestos risks in schools. The call for action came this month in a report from parliament’s all party group on occupational health and safety.
Adjournment debate, 7 February 2012: Columns 277 – 284, HansardMorning StarGMB news releaseIBAS blogRisks 54211 February 2012

Britain: Alert electrician spots asbestos blunder
Workers and residents were put at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres until an alert electrician raised the alarm. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Chippenham Magistrates' Court that DB Construction (West Wilts) Ltd carried out unsafe work while refurbishing a house in Bradford-on-Avon between 29 November and 10 December 2010.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 54211 February 2012

Britain: MPs call for urgent action on asbestos in schools
MPs have warned urgent action is needed to address the asbestos “timebomb in our schools”. A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, sent to MPs and peers on 1 February, says more than 75 per cent of Britain’s state schools contain asbestos.
News release from Jim Sheridan MP and full report, Asbestos in schools: The need for action, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, 1 February 2012 [pdf] • Risks 541 • 4 February 2012

Britain: Asbestos like ‘capital punishment’ for workers
A coroner has said asbestos at work was like “capital punishment” for hard workers. Dr Janet Napier, deputy coroner for Cheshire, was commenting at the inquest into the death of a former Crewe Works employee, William Martin, who worked at the railway as a fitter and turner between 1956 and 1988.
Crewe GuardianRisks 541 • 4 February 2012

Canada: Red Cross tarnished by asbestos links
A board member of the Canadian Red Cross, criticised for her ties to the asbestos industry, has resigned abruptly from the humanitarian group’s governing body. The departure of Roshi Chadha came days after the organisation had rallied behind the "valued member" of its team, spurring protests from asbestos victims and campaigners around the world.
Montreal GazetteInternational Ban Asbestos SecretariatRisks 53921 January 2012

Britain: Cancer strikes 50 years after exposure
A shipyard worker developed a deadly cancer 50 years after being exposed to asbestos in Merseyside’s shipyards. The 80-year-old Unite member from Liverpool was diagnosed with the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma in February 2011.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseMerseyside Asbestos Victims Support GroupRisks 53814 January 2012

Britain: Governors can’t manage schools asbestos
Responsibility for the management of asbestos in state-funding schools must not be transferred to school governors, trade union campaign group has warned. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) is calling on the government to abandon its plans to make the governors of all state-funded schools responsible for the health and safety of their pupils and staff.
NUT news releaseAsbestos in SchoolsRisks 5377 January 2012

Britain: HSE asbestos campaign is resurrected
The Health and Safety Executive’s award-winning ‘Hidden Killer’ asbestos campaign is to recommence, after being put on hold for over a year on government instruction. A phase of the campaign due to start in October 2010 was abandoned when the government introduced a blanket freeze on government-funded campaigns.
UCATT news releaseHSE ‘Hidden Killer’ campaignRisks 53617 December 2011

Global: Horror at ‘immoral’ discount asbestos plan
Campaigners in India have condemned plans for a trade deal which could eliminate all tariffs on Canadian asbestos exports to the country. Ongoing negotiations for a Canada–India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement were revealed by Canada's opposition New Democratic Party.
NDP news releaseOEHNI news releaseIBAS reportRisks 53510 December 2011

Britain: Unite seeks asbestos justice
Supreme Court judges have been asked by Unite to end the uncertainty about whether people dying from the asbestos cancer and their families will be entitled to compensation. Unite’s appeal to the UK’s highest court, which started on 5 December, comes after insurance companies were partly successful in a test case about whether insurers are liable to pay claims for the fatal asbestos cancer, mesothelioma.
Unite news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseRisks 53510 December 2011

[asbestos] Britain: Call for pleural plaques compensation
The “shameful situation” that denies workers in England and Wales compensation for asbestos related pleural plaques must end, the union Unite has said. The union was speaking out after the Northern Ireland Executive announced workers there would be allowed to claim for the condition, following Scotland’s lead.
Northern Ireland Executive news releaseUnite news releaseRisks 53510 December 2011

Canada: Child pleads for end to asbestos industry
Heidi von Palleske and her daughter, Cavanagh Matmor, 11, travelled to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on 24 November to plead with Canada’s Conservative government to end its support of the asbestos industry. After 130 years, asbestos mining in Canada was suspended in November, but the industry could be revived if the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos, Quebec, secures a loan guarantee from the provincial government to open an underground mine.
Montreal GazetteRelated videoCTV NewsHuffington PostStop Asbestos Canada websiteRisks 5343 December 2011

Australia: Home improvement show gives asbestos warning
A major Australian TV channel is to broadcast asbestos warnings on a popular home renovation programme, after a high profile union campaign. Unions NSW welcomed Channel Nine's decision to include an alert about the dangers of asbestos on ‘The Block’ and called on the other TV networks to follow suit.
Unions NSW news releaseAsbestos Diseases Foundation of AustraliaRisks 53326 November 2011

Britain: Cases highlight college asbestos dangers
An asbestos related death in a college cleaner, a secretary in a university science department who also succumbed to an asbestos cancer and the prosecution of a university for criminal breaches of asbestos law prove education staff need better protection from the deadly fibre, the union UCU has said.
UCU news releaseHSE news releaseSunday MercuryRisks 53326 November 2011

Britain: Safety cuts 'pose deadly risk in schools'
Children and teachers could die because of government cuts that will hamper the identification of asbestos in schools, Unite has warned. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the deadly material is still rife and that government plans to slash 35 from Health and Safety Executive budgets will mean even more people are exposed.
Morning StarHuffington PostRisks 53326 November 2011

Canada: Government told to stop asbestos exports
Canadian opposition MPs renewed calls for the Canadian government to stop their efforts to block asbestos being listed on the UN's list of hazardous substances, and to help asbestos miners and communities dependent on the substance in their adjustment as that economy ends.
News reportABC report on the effect on developing countriesRisks 53219 November 2011

Britain: Cleaner killed by killer dust
A college cleaner died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at Grimsby College where she worked. Brenda Waddell, 61, developed the disease after being exposed to asbestos at the then Grimsby College, where she worked as a cleaner from 1984 to 2007.
Press reportRisks 53219 November 2011

Britain: Asbestos deaths claim non-industrial workers
As new figures reveal asbestos cancers are claiming a record number of lives, the deaths of a nurse and a police officer from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma indicate how widespread the problem has become. 
Grimsby TelegraphSunday MercuryRisks 5305 November 2011 

Britain: Dock worker’s family get asbestos cancer payout
The family of a Humber shipyard welder who was killed by asbestos has received compensation. Lifelong GMB member Arthur Prestidge was 80 when he died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseGrimsby TelegraphRisks 5305 November 2011

Britain: Electrician gets pay out for cancer that will kill him
A former electrician diagnosed with an invariably fatal asbestos related cancer has received £140,000 compensation from his former employer’s insurers. The 76-year-old Unite member from Liverpool, whose name has not been released, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2010.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 5305 November 2011

Britain: Campaign slams ‘devastating’ schools asbestos findings
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been criticised for putting a positive spin on the “devastating” findings of its investigation into asbestos management in independent, voluntary aided and foundation schools and academies.
HSE news release, list of inspected schools and inspection outcomes and asbestos management webpagesAsbestos in Schools campaign, news release [pdf] and summary of HSE study [pdf] • Risks 52822 October 2011

Britain: Insurance industry slammed
The TUC has attacked the insurance industry for trying to stop workers or their dependants from claiming compensation after they are injured or made ill as a result of their employer's negligence.
Independent on SundayGuardian articleTouchstone blogRisks 52715 October 2011

Britain: Bid to cut asbestos compensation fails
The Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the insurance industry to overturn the right of people in Scotland to claim compensation for pleural plaques. The House of Lords backed a previous attempt by the insurance industry to prevent damages being claimed by victims of pleural plaques but, unlike in England and Wales, the Scottish Government introduced legislation to restore this right on the grounds that pleural plaques could give rise to more serious conditions, like lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis.
STUC press release. UCATT press releaseRisks 52715 October 2011

Britain: STUC names and shames insurance giants
The Scottish TUC has named and shamed the five insurance giants who went to the Supreme Court to try to overturn Scottish legislation giving pleural plaques sufferers a right to compensation. The five culprits have been named as AXA General Insurance Limited, AXA Insurance UK plc, which operates companies like Swiftcover.com, Norwich Union Insurance Limited (Aviva), Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance plc and Zurich Insurance plc.
STUC press releaseRisks 52715 October 2011

Global: Secretive PR firm pushes asbestos
A major US public relations company is attempting to derail a move to ban asbestos in Malaysia, but has refused to reveal who is funding its activities. Washington DC-based APCO Worldwide, whose previous credits including working for the tobacco industry to frustrate US government cancer prevention efforts, “is seeking to undermine an initiative to protect people in Malaysia from cancer caused by asbestos,” said Kelle Louaillier, president of Corporate Accountability International.
RightonCanada news release • Letter sent to Margery Kraus, President & CEO, APCO Worldwide, Washington, DC: Disassociate yourself from the discredited and deadly propaganda of the asbestos industry, health defenders tell APCO Worldwide. Montreal GazetteVancouver SunRisks 5268 October 2011

Britain: Site firm pays £318,000 for asbestos death
The widow and family of a victim of an asbestos cancer have been awarded personal injury compensation of £318,000. Elizabeth Wolff, 69, from Kilmarnock, lodged a claim for damages after her former construction worker husband William, 66, died from mesothelioma in March 2007. ScotsmanConstruction EnquirerBBC News OnlineRisks 5268 October 2011

Britain: Unapologetic M&S fined £1m for asbestos crimes
Marks and Spencer plc and three of its contractors have been fined after putting members of the public, staff and construction workers at risk of exposure to asbestos-containing materials during the refurbishment of M&S stores.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesDaily TelegraphRisks 5251 October 2011

Britain: Unite gears up for asbestos showdown
The union Unite is gearing up for a Supreme Court challenge that could deliver justice for asbestos victims. In December, the union will set out to overturn a Court of Appeal decision, known as the trigger test case.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseEvening ChronicleRisks 5251 October 2011

Britain: Union secures asbestos cancer payout
An electrician diagnosed with the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma has received £140,000 compensation from his former employer. The 71-year-old Unite member from Birmingham was diagnosed in 2009 with mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 5251 October 2011

Britain: Worker exposed to high levels of blue asbestos
A company in Bath has been fined £600 with £6,013.45 costs after a builder was exposed to high levels of deadly blue asbestos. Jonathan Arnold, 49, was fitting pipework for a new central heating system at Oxford House, in Combe Down, Bath when he was exposed to high levels of loose-fill blue asbestos, also known as crocidolite.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 52424 September 2011

Britain: Tory MPs rebuked for asbestos ‘contempt’
A support group for sufferers of asbestos related diseases has condemned the behaviour of two Tory MPs during a committee debate on the impact of legal aid cuts. The group, which attended a hearing of the public bill committee on 13 September to hear the debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Prosecution of Offenders Bill, said that Conservative MPs Ben Wallace and Ben Gummer had behaved like “rowdy public schoolboy” and displayed “contempt” for working people.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Morning StarPublic Bill Committee hearing, 13 SeptemberRisks 52424 September 2011

Britain: HSE moves to improve weak asbestos law
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to change the law on asbestos at work, after accepting the current law fails to meet Europe’s minimum requirements. HSE’s admission it had under-implemented the European Commission’s 2003 directive on control of asbestos at work was first revealed by the trade union journal Hazards in April this year.
HSE consultative document [pdf] – response deadline 4 November 2011 • Hazards magazineHSE news release and training pledge websiteRisks 52210 September 2011

Britain: Widow calls for action on asbestos in schools
The widow of a teacher who died after working in asbestos-contaminated schools for more than 20 years is to urge the government to save other families from suffering the same fate. Marilyn Butterfield said losing her husband Graham to the asbestos cancer malignant mesothelioma was “devastating.”
Irwin Mitchell news releaseTelegraph and ArgusMorning StarRisks 52210 September 2011

Britain: Council fined over school asbestos exposures
Birmingham City Council and a Solihull refurbishment company have been fined for exposing three workers to asbestos during work on a school. Solihull Supplies Ltd was contracted by the council to refurbish the reception area at William Cowper Community Primary School, Birmingham, who then sub-contracted another firm to remove ceiling tiles at the school, but failed to carry out a proper risk assessment.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 52210 September 2011

Canada: Widow stands firm against government threats
An asbestos widow in Canada has been threatened with legal action after using the logo of the ruling Conservative party in an online advert critical of its support for global asbestos trade. The threatening letter to Michaela Keyserlingk appears to have backfired on the government, and has ensured her crusade against asbestos has become a major news story worldwide
Michaela Keyserlingk’s ban asbestos exports websiteToronto StarSierra Club of Canada blogGlobal TorontoOttawa CitizenRisks 51920 August 2011

Australia: Home improvement shows overlook risks
TV home improvement programmes should include an on-air warning in each show about the dangers of asbestos, a top Australian union body has said. Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said: “These programmes are wildly popular and present a tremendous opportunity to outline the potential danger of asbestos as part of any home renovation.”
Unions NSW news releaseDaily TelegraphRisks 518 13 August 2011

Britain: Prosecutions over asbestos exposure
A Norfolk company and a contractor from Manchester have been fined after failing to manage asbestos removal work at a renovation site in Great Yarmouth. Mohammed Zahid was employed in May 2009 by Azam Bros Ltd to clear damage caused by a fire at two commercial units.
HSE news releaseRisks 518 13 August 2011

Britain: Unite seeks justice for growing asbestos toll
Asbestos disease is affecting growing numbers in the North West, figures from the union Unite suggest. Since January 2010, Unite members and their families in the region have received £1.5m asbestos compensation.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 5176 August 2011

Britain: M&S convicted of safety crimes
Marks and Spencer plc and two of its contractors have been convicted for putting members of the public, staff and construction workers at risk of exposure to asbestos-containing materials during the refurbishment of two stores. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the retail giant, Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd and PA Realisations Ltd (formerly Pectel Ltd).
HSE news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 51523 July 2011

Britain: Asbestos killed power station electrician
The family of a South Wales electrician who died from cancer caused by exposure to asbestos at a power station has been awarded “substantial compensation” following a lengthy legal battle. Unite member John Vaughan was 71 when he died from mesothelioma. He was exposed to asbestos while working at Aberthaw Power Station, which at the time was run by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB).
WalesOnlineRisks 51523 July 2011

Britain: Carpenter’s family helps local hospice
The family of a carpenter who died of an asbestos related disease has received a ‘substantial’ sum in compensation and has recovered costs for the hospice that helped him in the final stages of his illness. GMB member Grahame Chiverton from the Isle of Wight died in August 2008, three days before his 50th birthday, after a nine month battle with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 51416 July 2011

Italy: Call for 20 years jail for asbestos magnates
A public prosecutor has called for 20 year prison terms for two asbestos magnates charged with a wilful failure to protect worker and the public from the deadly fibre, resulting in thousands of deaths. At a criminal trial in Turin, prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello this week delivered a closing statement in the trial of Eternit’s Stephan Schmidheiny and Belgian Baron Jean Louis Marie Ghislain De Cartier de Marchienne.
Asbestos in the Dock reportYahoo NewsRisks 5139 July 2011

Britain: Unions call for action to cut asbestos deaths
Unions are calling on the government to introduce a requirement on local authorities to give parents and school workers an annual report on the asbestos risk in schools. The Joint Union Asbestos Campaign (JUAC) says although every year asbestos-related mesothelioma claims the lives of 16 UK teachers, schools will no longer be “proactively” inspected, even though HSE knows a significant proportion of local authorities have serious flaws in the asbestos management systems.
UNISON news releaseRisks 5139 July 2011

Britain: Unite demands investment in asbestos treatment
The union Unite says the UK government must provide funds to investigate effective treatments for mesothelioma, the asbestos related cancer. Speaking on 1 July, Action Mesothelioma Day, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “The coalition needs to provide funds for greater investment into understanding and treating this terrible disease that kills 2,000 people a year… many of them working in the construction, engineering, ship building and rail industries.”
Unite news releaseRisks 5139 July 2011

Global: GMB slams Canada’s asbestos promotion
The UK union GMB has condemned Canada’s continuing defence of unfettered global asbestos trade. The union was speaking out on 1 July, which is both Canada Day and Action Mesothelioma Day.
GMB news releaseMontreal GazetteRisks 5139 July 2011

Canada: Unions appalled’ at asbestos crassness
Canada’s top union leader has said he is ‘appalled’ the Canadian government has blocked an international effort to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance. The Rotterdam Convention meeting concluded on 24 June, with Canada having stepped in to block listing when it appeared a consensus might be reached on adding the cancer causing fibre to the ‘Prior Informed Consent’ list.
CLC news release and Ken Georgetti’s June 16, 2011 letter to Prime Minister Stephen HarperMontreal Gazette and related storyThe TyeeYukon NewsThe ProvinceRisks 512 2 July 2011

Britain: Warning on deadly ‘asbestos protection crisis’
There is an ‘asbestos protection crisis’ throughout the UK as a result of government cut backs on safety campaigns, enforcement and resources, a victims’ advocacy group has said. The warning came on 1 July as hundreds of sufferers of the aggressive and deadly cancer mesothelioma and their families gathered to mark Action Mesothelioma Day.
AVSGF news release [pdf] • HSE’s shelved ‘Hidden Killer’ campaignPlymouth HeraldTelegraph and ArgusAction Mesothelioma DayRisks 512 2 July 2011

Global: ILO admonishes Canada on asbestos
The Canadian government has been given a sharp warning by the top international standards body about its behaviour on asbestos. The International Labour Organisation has told Canada to adopt better standards to protect workers' health and to review outdated national laws and regulations on asbestos.
CLC presentation to the ILO meetingIMF new reportA statement on Chrysotile at the Rotterdam Convention meetingRisks 51018 June 2011

Britain: Action Mesothelioma Day, 1 July 2011
Action Mesothelioma Day 2011 is being held on Friday 1 July, with events scheduled countrywide. Details of activities in Chesterfield, Dundee, Merseyside, Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and London are already available on the Mesothelioma UK website.
Action Mesothelioma Day, 1 July 2011 [pdf] • Mesothelioma UKRisks 5084 June 2011

Britain: Chief scientist confirms white asbestos risks
White asbestos deserves its top level cancer rating, the government’s chief scientific adviser has told ministers. In a letter to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Sir John Beddington said “it is my opinion that on the evidence available there is no justification for an imminent change to the international scientific consensus on the classification of chrysotile as a Class 1 carcinogen.”
BIS webpage on chrysotile asbestos • 11 May 2011 letter from Sir John Beddington to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith [pdf]. Meeting Notes - GCSA meeting on the Classification and Regulation of Chrysotile Asbestos, 7 March 2011 [pdf] • Risks 5084 June 2011

Britain: Plea for asbestos victims 'fund of last resort'
Lawyers acting for people suffering from asbestos-related diseases have renewed their appeal for a ‘fund of last resort’ to step in when a firm’s employers’ liability insurer cannot be found. Claimant lawyers said they had waited more than a year for the results of a consultation on setting up an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau, reports the Law Gazette.
Law GazetteRisks 5084 June 2011

Finland: Unions track asbestos exposure risks
Unions in Finland are keeping track of workplace asbestos exposures, using a purpose designed “follow-up” card. The say the initiative, which was launched last month by the Breathing Association, the union confederations SAK and STTK, and the trade unions representing metal, electrical, paper and construction workers, will record information on individual worker’s exposures and on possible occupational diseases that could be related to those exposures.
Trade Union News from FinlandRisks 50621 May 2011

Canada: Top union body slams asbestos trade
The leader of Canada’s national union federation has slammed the country’s prime minister for promoting asbestos in a bid to win votes. In a letter ahead of federal elections, which this week returned Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party with a substantial majority, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) president Kenneth Georgetti condemned the prime minister’s vocal support for asbestos trade in a bid to win votes in Quebec, the region with the asbestos mines.
CLC letterRisks 504 7 May 2011

Britain: UK will tighten too weak asbestos law
The UK version of a European Union-wide law on asbestos safety is to be amended after the European Commission (EC) ruled it is illegally lax. In a 28 April statement to the trade union magazine Hazards, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) “confirmed its agreement” with the EC’s finding that the UK had actually under-implemented Europe’s asbestos law.
Hazards magazineEuropean Commission news releaseHSE asbestos at work regulations webpages and the EC asbestos directive and infringement procedures Risks 504 7 May 2011

Britain: Court upholds Scots pleural plaques payouts
Insurers have lost a legal bid to overturn a law in Scotland giving victims of an asbestos-related condition the right to claim damages. Unions welcomed the Court of Session decision to uphold the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions)(Scotland) Act in 2009 which allows sufferers of pleural plaques, a usually benign scarring of the lungs, to make compensation claims
STUC news releaseUCATT news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 502 16 April 2011

Global: Dismay at Canada’s asbestos shame
A major expansion of asbestos production in Canada is to go ahead, after the industry secured official support for a new mine. Global union federation BWI, which represents building workers in the asbestos disease frontline, condemned the decision by the Quebec provincial government to support the Jeffrey asbestos mine.
BWI news releaseIBAS commentaryThe Cold TruthCBC NewsRisks 50330 April 2011

Britain: Survey reveals schools asbestos peril
Fears about asbestos exposures in schools have been raised after a survey uncovered “worrying shortcomings” in the management of the substance. The nationwide survey of more than 600 union safety representatives in schools “has flatly contradicted” Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claims that the government is meeting its legal obligations to address the issue of asbestos in schools, a trade union campaign group warned.
Unite news releaseNUT news releaseAsbestos in SchoolsRisks 50330 April 2011

Britain: Suspended sentence for asbestos crimes
A property developer has received community service and a suspended prison sentence after ordering the unsafe removal of asbestos from a former nightclub in Wrexham. Michael Murton, 35, admitted removing the asbestos from Scott's nightclub, endangering workers and the public.
HSE news releaseDaily PostBBC News OnlineRisks 5019 April 2011

Britain: Site firms fined for asbestos exposures
A plant hire company and a construction services firm have been fined for exposing employees and members of the public to asbestos at a London block of flats. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mansell Construction Services Ltd and subcontractor Woodlands Plant Hire Ltd failed to properly manage asbestos during a flat refurbishment job in December 2009.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 500 2 April 2010

Canada: Asbestos suffers a mortal blow?
A top union body in Quebec has dealt a serious blow to the province’s embattled asbestos industry. In an overwhelming voice vote, representatives of the 300,000-member Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN) voted against the planned expansion of Canada’s last asbestos mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec and says it now wants “to draw up a proposed schedule and transition and restructuring programme for workers in this industry, from a standpoint of triggering the necessary debate on banning asbestos with both levels of governments.”
CSN news release (English version - original in French) • Cold Truth blogAOL NewsRabble.caRisks 49819 March 2011

Britain: Suspended sentence for asbestos crimes
A site manager has been given a two month suspended sentence and 150 hours of community service for exposing a bricklayer to asbestos. Henry Bohlen, 63, from Barry, south Wales, directed the bricklayer to demolish a wall that contained asbestos, putting him at serious risk.
HSE news release and risk assessment webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 49819 March 2011

Britain: Asbestos ruling ‘a victory for fairness’
The Supreme Court ruling allowing the family of a former Merseyside pupil a six-figure compensation payout following the exposure to asbestos at school which subsequently killed her, is a victory for fairness and a wake-up call for the government, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has said. 
ATL news releaseRisks 49819 March 2011

Asbestos blunders led to £500,000 bill
A clean-up operation after a roofing company spread asbestos fibres around a Leicestershire town cost £500,000, a court has heard. Hampshire-based Concept Roofing and Cladding Services Ltd, who used pressurised water washers to clean roof panels on industrial units in Market Harborough, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,375.
HSE news releaseLeicester MercuryRisks 49712 March 2011

Britain: Welcome for cancer compensation precedent
Unions have welcomed a Supreme Court ruling that establishes workers may claim compensation after ‘low level’ exposures to a cancer causing substance at work. The Supreme Court this week upheld earlier rulings establishing there was no requirement for a claimant to show a doubling of risk in order to claim asbestos caused their cancer.
NUT news releaseUCATT news releaseRisks 49712 March 2011

Britain: Backing for ‘low level’ asbestos exposure payouts
Two families have won groundbreaking claims for compensation after loved ones died from cancer caused by exposure to "low level" asbestos. Seven Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled there was no requirement for a claimant to show a doubling of risk.
The Supreme Court press summary [pdf] and full judgment [pdf] • John Pickering • Solicitors news release • Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Asbestos in Schools news releaseBBC News OnlineLiverpool Daily NewsDaily PostSolicitors JournalThe IndependentRisks 49712 March 2011

Britain: Union rep gets asbestos cancer payout
A former GMB shop steward and shipyard convenor from South Shields has received a “substantial” payout just nine weeks after he was diagnosed with an asbestos cancer. The 81 year-old, whose name has not been released and who has the incurable cancer mesothelioma, was exposed to asbestos while working as a chipper and painter for shipyards on the River Tyne, including Redheads Ship Repairers and Tyne Dock Engineering in South Shields.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 49526 February 2011

Britain: Firms have to pay asbestos care costs
An insurer’s decision to drop an appeal against a landmark court judgment should now clear the way for hospices across the country to secure vital funding for the end of life care of industrial illness victims. The announcement comes just days before a scheduled appeal against a decision by the High Court last year, that ruled the company responsible for the death of James Willson from the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma should contribute to his hospice care costs.
Irwin Mitchell news releaseRisks 49419 February 2011

Britain: Asbestos law not up to Euro standard
The UK version of a European Union-wide law on asbestos safety is illegally lax and must be amended, the government has been told. The TUC, which had warned against the dilution of essential safety measures, said the European Commission (EC) ruling nails the myth the UK “gold-plates” Euro laws.
European Commission news releaseHSE asbestos at work regulations webpages and the EC asbestos directive and infringement procedureRisks 49419 February 2011

Global: Canadian asbestos ‘tsunami’ planned for India
The governments of Quebec and India have agreed to draw up an accord on “investment and sustainable development” in mining activities which will include Canada’s asbestos exports. However, unions, safety and environmental campaigners say Quebec plans to export an “asbestos tsunami” to India which could lead to tens of thousands of deaths a year.
IBAS news reportBWI news releaseGovernment of India news release. Montreal GazetteRisks 49312 February 2011

Global: Asbestos lobby resorts to threats
Shady asbestos industry lobbyists are running a campaign of intimidation targeting key campaigners seeking ban on the deadly fibre. The UK-based International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), which coordinates a network for campaign groups worldwide, says in recent weeks “the internet has been flooded by accusations against individuals and groups campaigning to ban asbestos.”
IBAS news reportRisks 49312 February 2011

Britain: Government enforced asbestos silence will kill
Workers will die as a result of the ban on official campaigns introduced by the government, construction union UCATT has warned. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) award-winning Hidden Killer campaign, which is among the affected campaigns, was launched in 2008 after figures showed asbestos disease was killing 20 construction tradesmen every week.
UCATT news releaseDaily MirrorConstruction EnquirerRisks 4925 February 2011

Britain: Caterpillar worker’s died of asbestos cancer
The family of a Unite member has received compensation after he died from an asbestos related cancer. Denis Aspin was exposed to asbestos at Caterpillar UK’s Desford factory, where he was employed as an assembler from 1979 until 2008 when he took voluntary redundancy.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 49129 January 2011

Global: End made-in-Canada deaths in Asia
Plans to expand asbestos production in Canada will result in an estimated 30,000 deaths in Asia, public health experts and campaigners have warned. A spate of protests in Asia, North America and Europe late last year have continued into 2011, with events in India, Korea and Canada highlighting the human consequences of any decision by authorities that would allow an expansion of asbestos mining in the Canadian province of Quebec.
IBAS newsMontreal GazetteRaging GranniesRisks 49022 January 2011

Britain: Son’s battle for justice for his dad
The son of a former employee of the Longbridge car plant, who died after being exposed to asbestos, has launched a search for former colleagues who may be able to help in his battle for justice. John Amos, from Rednal, Birmingham, was diagnosed with the incurable asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in May 2009, just days before he died aged 79 on 22 May 2009.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Anyone who can assist with information concerning asbestos working practices at the Rover site in Longbridge, should contact Alida Coates on 0870 1500 100 • Risks 49022 January 2011

Global: Asbestos deaths toll under-estimated
The number of deaths related to asbestos exposures worldwide has been dramatically under-estimated, as some major asbestos using nations are failing to report any related cancers, a new study has concluded. A group of experts from Japan, Taiwan and the UK, writing this month in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, say their analysis supports a worldwide ban on asbestos production and use.
Park E-K, Takahashi K, Hoshuyama T, Cheng T-J, Delgermaa V, and others. Global magnitude of reported and unreported mesothelioma, Environmental Health Perspectives,  published online 6 January 2011. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002845 • Risks 48915 January 2011

Global: Asbestos safety reassurances rubbished
A claim by a Canadian minister that a monitoring scheme will ensure safe use of its asbestos exports has been rubbished by campaigners. The exchange is the latest prompted by plans to massively expand asbestos production in the Canadian province of Quebec, a move for which the industry is seeking financial support from the provincial government.
Vancouver SunAsbestos scandal: Irresponsible policies could cause an epidemic of malignant lung disease, Nature, 15 December 2010 • Risks 48718 December 2010

Britain: 'Asbestos on shirt' woman dies of cancer
A 44-year-old woman has lost her battle against a cancer she believed was caused by asbestos dust on her grandfather's work clothes. Mother-of-two Debra Stevenson, of Plymouth, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2008 and died on 5 December 2010.
Western Morning NewsRisks 48718 December 2010

Global: Screw tightens on Canada’s asbestos pushers
Canada has been hit with a global barrage of criticism this week for its support for asbestos exports worldwide. Protesters targeted headquarters of the Canadian federal and Quebec provincial governments in London, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, India and elsewhere highlighting Canada’s commitment to continued asbestos exports and current plans to expand production in the country.
IBAS press pack on the Asian delegation to Quebec [pdf] • BWI statement and briefing [pdf] • Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • SalonThe OlympianOttawa CitizenABC NewsGlobe and MailCBC NewsWashington PostMorning Star
Canada accused of hypocrisy over asbestos exports. Tony Kirby, The Lancet, Volume 376, Issue 9757, pages 1973-1974, 11 December 2010 • Risks 48611 December 2010

Global: Asian asbestos campaigners target Quebec
A group of activists from Asia will descend on Quebec this month to warn the Canadian province’s government about the deadly price paid as a result of its asbestos exports. The delegation, which includes asbestos victims and union representatives, has sent a letter to the province’s premier, Jean Charest, urging him not to underwrite the cost of a massive expansion of asbestos mining at the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos.
Financial Times
CTVMontreal GazetteInternational Ban Asbestos Secretariat.
UK protest: A protest will be held outside Canada House at Trafalgar Square, London, on 9 December, to coincide with an Asian delegation to Quebec. It is supported by unions, support groups and the TUC. Assemble 11 am [flyer pdf] • Risks 485 • 4 December 2010

India: Asbestos multinational’s victims get payouts 
Ninety-seven Indian citizens injured by asbestos have finally secured compensation for injuries sustained at the hands of a British company - Turner & Newall Ltd. (T&N). Madhumita Dutta, from Chennai-based Corporate Accountability Desk, commented: “While the amounts paid by the T&N trust are modest, nevertheless an important principle has been established.”
IBASRisks 484 • 27 November 2010

China: Study confirms asbestos lung cancer risk
A study in China has confirmed workers exposed to the only remaining form of asbestos in production are at a greatly increased risk of lung cancer. The research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found asbestos workers in the “high exposure” group were 3.66 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
Eiji Yano, Xiaorong Wang, Mianzhen Wang, Hong Qiu and Zhiming Wang. Lung cancer mortality from exposure to chrysotile asbestos and smoking: a case-control study within a cohort in China, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 867-871, 2010 [abstract and full text] • International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.Risks 483 • 20 November 2010

Britain: DIY asbestos removal leads to fine
A Norwich construction company has been fined £30,000 after endangering employees’ lives when it opted to cut costs by undertaking an asbestos removal job at its own HQ. Magistrates heard that members of staff at East Anglian Construction Ltd, a subsidiary of Peter Colby Commercials, had been asked to remove the hazardous building material from the company’s headquarters.
Norwich City Council news releaseNorwich Evening NewsRisks 483 • 20 November 2010

Global: More bad news for the asbestos pushers
Campaigners pressing for a global ban on asbestos will have further aggravated asbestos lobbyists this week, with the publication of a full page advert in two major Canadian newspapers condemning asbestos exports and use. The ad, which is signed by prominent experts and campaigners and national and international trade union, safety and medical organisations, has subsequently appeared on websites and social networking sites worldwide.
RightOnCanada.ca advert calling for an end to Canadian asbestos exports [pdf] • Risks 483 • 20 November 2010

Britain: Asbestos illnesses killing more women
There has been an alarming increase in the number of women dying of an asbestos-related cancer, with low level exposures in non-industrial jobs suspected as the cause. Latest official figures show that mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, is the most rapidly increasing cancer in women.
Daily MirrorHSE statistics webpages and mesothelioma statisticsRisks 482 • 13 November 2010

Britain: Unite takes asbestos fight to Supreme Court
Unite has confirmed it will go to the Supreme Court to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling it says threatens to deprive thousands of asbestos cancer victims and their families of their rightful compensation. The appeal court ruled last month that in some asbestos cases employers’ liability insurance is triggered not at the time of the exposure to asbestos in the workplace, but when symptoms of asbestos related disease emerged.
Unite news release
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseMorning StarHSE statistics webpages and mesothelioma statisticsRisks 481 • 6 November 2010

Britain: TUC concern at asbestos ruling
The TUC has expressed grave concern at the continued uncertainty facing people dying from asbestos diseases, following a Court of Appeal ruling on compensation payments. Three appeal court judges ruled that only some sufferers could recover damages for the fatal harm they sustained as a result of work exposures decades ago.
TUC news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseJohn Pickering Solicitors news releaseSolicitors JournalRisks 478 • 16 October 2010

Britain: ‘Perverse’ ruling is an insult to the dying
Asbestos campaigners and unions have criticised a ‘perverse’ Court of Appeal ruling which has left workers dying of asbestos cancers facing delays to their compensation payments or without recourse to compensation at all.
Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Unite news releaseUCATT news releaseGMB news releaseMorning StarBirmingham MailRisks 478 • 16 October 2010

Britain: Families at risk from deadly asbestos
It’s not just your own asbestos exposures at work that can lead to a deadly cancer, they can hit your family too, recent cases affecting a daughter, a wife and a granddaughter have demonstrated.
Portsmouth NewsDaily EchoThe SunRisks 476 • 2 October 2010

Britain: NUT critical of schools asbestos assurances
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has ‘misplaced’ confidence in a survey it says establishes the ability of schools to safety manage asbestos, teaching union NUT has said. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said inspectors only visited 42 authorities, adding: “The other 110 simply completed an on-line survey, making the survey essentially a paper exercise, reliant on local authorities admitting to failings in their system of asbestos management in order to trigger a visit from the HSE.”
HSE news release, survey findings and asbestos management webpages • NUT news releaseEdexecAsbestos in SchoolsRisks 475 • 25 September 2010

Global: ITUC welcomes asbestos ‘death knell’
A statement from a United Nations body confirming its desire to see the end of asbestos use worldwide is the ‘death knell’ for a substance which claims one life every five minutes around the clock, the global union confederation ITUC has said. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) this month warned in an official position statement that industry lobbyists pushing asbestos around the world must not claim to have ILO support.
ITUC news release ITUC/Hazards green jobs, safe jobs blogBWI news reportWorld Health Organisation asbestos briefing, July 2010International Labour Organisation (ILO) position statement on asbestos Risks 474 • 18 September 2010

Britain: MOD censured for asbestos crimes
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has received a formal Crown Censure from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after potentially exposing workers to deadly asbestos fibres. The action relates to criminal breaches of safety law however the ministry, as a government body, cannot be prosecuted in the criminal courts.
HSE news releases on the MoD Crown Censure and the Interserve fineHSE managing asbestos webpagesRisks 474 • 18 September 2010

Britain: Deadly asbestos risks onboard ships
A union campaign to secure tougher controls against the threats posed by asbestos on ships has won backing from delegates to TUC’s Congress. Seafarers’ union Nautilus International secured unanimous support for a motion expressing concern at the continued presence of asbestos on ships – despite international rules introduced in 2002 to prevent its use.
Nautilus news releaseRisks 474 • 18 September 2010

Global: Asbestos use must stop, confirms ILO
Asbestos industry lobbyists pushing the deadly fibre on the developing world must not claim to have the support of the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations body has indicated. As well as encouraging governments to sign up to ILO conventions, the statement highlights ILO’s commitment to “promoting the elimination of the future use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.”
The ILO position on safety in the use of asbestos, ILO, September 2010 [pdf] • Risks 473 • 11 September 2010

Global: Canada gives asbestos mine more money
A last-ditch effort to revive Quebec’s asbestos industry has received a government cash lifeline while the deadly mining operation scrabbles to find private investors. The rapid approval by the Quebec government of a Can$3.5 million (£2.15m) guaranteed line of credit, plus political support from Canada’s federal government, means the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos, Quebec will reopen for the month of September while it courts possible investors from the UK and India.
IBAS news releaseToronto StarCBC NewsRisks 472 • 28 August 2010

Britain: Shipbreaker fined over asbestos risks
A North Lincolnshire shipbreaking company put its workers and others at risk of exposure to asbestos, a court has heard. Marine reclamation company Acetech Construction Limited, purchased a Polish former fishing vessel, ‘The Patricia III’, in 2007 for dismantling and selling on as scrap.
HSE news release and asbestos webpagesRisks 471 • 28 August 2010

Britain: Asbestos disturbed at primary school
A Solihull building firm has been fined £1,000 after failing to take precautions against asbestos while working at a school. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company after bosses at Greswolde Construction Ltd failed to warn employees the substance was present, despite being in possession of a survey detailing the location of the asbestos.
HSE news releaseRisks 471 • 28 August 2010

Britain: Trades led to asbestos cancers
Two men from the West Midlands developed cancer as a result of exposures to asbestos at work. Iain Shoolbred, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, is representing is appealing to former work colleagues of Ronald Webster and Barry Halford to come forward with information about working practices, which could prove essential to their compensation claims.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releases on the Ronald Webster and Barry Halford cases. Anyone who worked with either should contact Iain Shoolbred at Irwin Mitchell solicitors on 0870 1500 100 • Risks 470 • 21 August 2010

Britain: Council condemned over schools risks
The leadership of a London council has been condemned by UNISON for its “staggering” failure to address potentially deadly health risks to school staff and pupils. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the possible presence of asbestos and legionella bacteria in four schools in the London borough of Waltham Forest found that the council had no plans to deal with the risk of exposure to pupils.
LabournetMorning StarWaltham Forest GuardianDaily MirrorAsbestos in schools website • HSE legionnaires and asbestos webpages • Risks 470 • 21 August 2010

Britain: Firm must pay for hospice cancer care 
The High Court has ruled a company responsible for a man’s death from an asbestos cancer should contribute to his hospice care costs. The ‘landmark’ case involves James Willson who in 1951, aged 20, went to work erecting new boilers at Deptford Power Station and subsequently died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseLoughborough EchoRisks 469 • 14 August 2010

Britain: Pleural plaques payouts scheme kicks off
A controversial government compensation scheme to provide lump sum payouts to some people with asbestos-related pleural plaques is now accepting applications. Thousands will be able to apply for a £5,000 payment, the Ministry of Justice has said.
MoJ news release and pleural plaques compensation eligibility guidelinesNorthern TUC news release
Find an asbestos group: Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UKRisks 468 • 7 August 2010

Britain: Joinery job led to asbestos cancer
A former joiner has received a payout for an asbestos cancer, despite one of his employers having ceased trading. Unite member Bernard Dean, 61, received a “substantial” payout after developing mesothelioma.
Thompsons Solicitors news release and ELIB campaignRisks 468 • 7 August 2010

Britain: Old schools equal more asbestos problems
Unions and asbestos groups have warned there will be “hidden consequences” of the government’s decision to scrap the Building Schools for the Future programme, saying there is “a real and increased risk” of children, teachers and support staff being exposed to asbestos fibres.
Northern TUC news releaseAsbestos Exposure in Schools websiteRisks 367 • 31 July 2010

Global: True cost of asbestos is exposed
A global network of lobbying groups is ensuring asbestos, banned or restricted in more than 50 countries, continues to be using in developing nations. A four-continent investigation by the US-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reports that many scientists fear the continued use of asbestos could significantly prolong a global epidemic of asbestos-related illnesses.
Dangers in the dust – a Center for Public Integrity investigationBBC News OnlineToronto StarMontreal GazetteVancouver SunRisks 466 • 24 July 2010

Britain: Prefab demolition led to asbestos death
A man who developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos while demolishing prefabricated houses received a compensation payout just weeks before his death. John Manniex, from Leigh in Greater Manchester, died of mesothelioma on 1 July.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 465 • 17 July 2010

Britain: Asbestos epidemic reminder from campaigners
More than 60,000 people in the UK will die in the future having previously been exposed to asbestos leading to a total death toll of 90,000 by the year 2050, campaigners have warned. But they say that despite the magnitude of the epidemic, prevention, research and treatment are all seriously neglected.
Asbestos Forum Action Mesothelioma Day events listingIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseHSE news releaseBLF news releaseMorning StarManchester Evening NewsNorth West Evening MailLeicester MercuryRisks 464 • 10 July 2010

Global: Campaigners denounce Canada on asbestos
A protest outside London’s Canada House was intended to “shame” Canada for promoting asbestos exports, the organisers said. The protest on 1 July, timed to coincide with official celebrations to mark Canada Day, took place as plans were being finalised to pump Canadian federal and state funds into an expansion of asbestos production and exports -  demonstrators carried banners bearing messages including: “Canadian asbestos – buy now, die later.”
UCATT news releaseGMB news release • Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • A worn-out welcome: Renewed call for a global ban on asbestos, Environmental Health Perspectives, 1 July 2010 • Risks 464 • 10 July 2010

Global: Condemnation of Canada’s asbestos ruse
Moves to use public money to underwrite the cost of a massive expansion of asbestos mining in Canada are attracting condemnation in Canada and worldwide. This week, in a letter sent to Quebec leader Jean Charest, the Canadian Cancer Society urged the premier not to approve a Can$58 million (£36.6m) loan guarantee to Jeffrey Asbestos Mines, based in Quebec.
Canadian Cancer Society news release and position statementPublic Citizen news releaseMontreal GazetteCBC NewsRightOnCanadaRisks 463 • 19 June 2010

Britain: Asbestos protest, Canada House, London, 1 July
Asbestos and safety campaigners are to protest outside Canada House on 1 July. The event, on Canada’s National Day, is to protest at Canada’s continuing support for Quebec’s exports of asbestos to the developing world.
Asbestos protest at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London 10am to 12 noon, 1 July 2010. Event detailsRisks 461 • 19 June 2010

Canada: Deathbed reprieve for killer industry?
The battle to end Canada's export of deadly asbestos may be about to be lost, a top human rights group has warned. Kathleen Ruff of the Rideau Institute says: “Economically, the industry is on its deathbed,” but adds that it has reason to believe it will soon receive a multi-million dollar bail-out from Canada’s federal and Quebec governments.
Toronto StarRisks 460 • 12 June 2010

Britain: Widow calls for insurance fix
An asbestos widow has called on the government to help asbestos victims and their families overcome barriers to obtaining compensation. Caroline Squires from Wacton in Norfolk has voiced her support for an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) after her husband, Almer, died from asbestos related cancer mesothelioma. Mr Squires, died in October 2008, aged 66.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 457 • 22 May 2010

Britain: Double tragedy for asbestos cancer victim
An asbestos cancer sufferer whose first wife died from the same disease has received compensation from his former employer. Unite member Roland Lakin, 70, from Chorley in Lancashire was diagnosed with the incurable cancer mesothelioma in July 2009 after he nursed his first wife, Thelma, through the disease until she died in 2006.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseChorley CitizenRisks 456 • 15 May 2010

Britain: Union asbestos register pinpoints exposure
A former engineer has spoken of his relief in obtaining compensation after being diagnosed with the incurable asbestos cancer mesothelioma in February 2009. Unite member David Marren, 63, became aware of the diseases caused by asbestos when his union launched a National Asbestos Exposure Register.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 456 • 15 May 2010

Global: Asbestos exports are ‘a crime’
An Indian health group is accusing Jean Charest of backing human rights abuses because of the Quebec premier's views on asbestos exports to the country. Mohit Gupta of the Occupational and Environmental Health Network of India says Charest is dismissing Indians as second-class citizens.
Ban Asbestos India news releaseBWI news releaseWinnipeg Free PressRisks 454 • 1 May 2010

Britain: UNISON anger at shortcuts before safety
Public sector union UNISON has revealed that in the last year it has secured nearly £2 million for members with asbestos-related diseases. The union says the figure, released on Workers’ Memorial Day, highlights the risk that many workers face just doing their day-to-day jobs.
UNISON news releaseRisks 454 • 1 May 2010

Britain: Punk shop asbestos ‘killed McLaren’
The former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren may have been exposed to the asbestos that killed him while smashing up Sex, his King's Road punk design shop, his partner Young Kim has said. She said the 64-year-old, who died on 8 April of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, was exposed to the deadly material when he shattered the ceiling of Sex, the shop he shared with his then partner, designer Vivienne Westwood.
The IndependentThe TelegraphBBC News OnlineRisks 452 • 17 April 2010

Britain: Dying rail worker gets asbestos payout
A dying man has received £120,000 compensation for the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, caused by his exposure to the fibre while working as a welder at the British Rail workshops in Derby. The 76-year-old Unite member, whose name has not been released, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2009.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 452 • 17 April 2010

Britain: ‘Gross dereliction’ on school asbestos menace
A failure to tackle effectively the problem of asbestos in schools amounts to a ‘gross dereliction’ of the duty of care to staff and pupils, teaching union NUT has said.
NUT news releaseRisks 451 • 10 April 2010

Canada: More public cash for the asbestos lobby
A Canadian government committee has voted to continue funding a body that has spearheaded the global campaign to push deadly asbestos on the developing world. The natural resources committee of the House of Commons rejected a motion that sought to eliminate the Can$250,000 (£164,000) in yearly funding Canada gives to the Chrysotile Institute, a Quebec-based asbestos industry group and energetic advocate of Canadian asbestos exports.
NDP news releaseWinnipeg Free PressRightOnCanada.ca campaign to end Canadian government funding for the asbestos lobby and asbestos webpagesRisks 449 • 27 March 2010

Global: Body repeats call for an asbestos ban
Over 10 years after a global society of occupational medicine experts called for a worldwide asbestos ban, it has reiterated its call and said any further delay will carry a high cost in human lives. The Collegium Ramazzini notes: “All countries of the world have an obligation to their citizens to join in the international endeavour to ban all forms of asbestos,” adding: “An international ban on asbestos is urgently needed.”
International Ban Asbestos SecretariatRisks 447 • 13 March 2010

Britain: Government acts on asbestos illness
The Ministry of Justice has announced a range of measures to support people who have been exposed to asbestos. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the decision not to compensate new cases of pleural plaques was “disappointing” but added “the other measures announced will be of real benefit to those who develop a disease as a result of exposure to asbestos”.
Ministry of Justice news release and statement from Jack StrawDWP news releaseTUC news releaseRisks 445 • 27 February 2010

Britain: Mixed verdict from asbestos victims
Asbestos victims’ organisations and personnel injury lawyers have given a mixed verdict on the government’s moves on pleural plaques and asbestos compensation and research.
Asbestos Forum news release and [pdf] • Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 445 • 27 February 2010

Britain: UCATT says victims have been ‘abandoned’
 Construction union UCATT has expressed disappointment after the government ‘abandoned’ the majority of pleural plaques victims in England and Wales. The union was speaking out after justice secretary Jack Straw confirmed on 25 February the government would only compensate pleural plaques victims who had lodged a legal case prior to a 2007 Law Lords decision to bar compensation.
UCATT news release • Risks 445 • 27 February 2010

Britain: Flawed evidence denied asbestos victims
People killed by asbestos diseases have been wrongly denied compensation because the courts have relied on flawed medical evidence, a landmark case has shown. The judge said that the asbestos level of 20 million fibres for confirmation of asbestos disease was “set too high, probably significantly too high” and found in favour of asbestosis widow Della Sabin and awarded her £100,000 in compensation.
Pannone LLP news releaseRisks 445 • 27 February 2010

USA: Shock tactic in New York asbestos protest
A New York union branch has found a novel way of highlighting both the dangers of asbestos and also the importance of unionisation in protecting the safety of both workers and the public. The union has put a coffin outside the offices of a company that is using non-unionised workers to remove asbestos.
Risks 444 • 20 February 2010

Britain: Compensation after asbestos exposure
A former power station worker Clifford King, 85, from Newark in Nottinghamshire has received compensation thanks to his union, Unite, taking up his claim for damages after he was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
Risks 443 • 13 February 2010

Philippines: Unions launch asbestos e-campaign
Unions in the Philippines have launched an email campaign to press for a ban on all asbestos use. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) campaign is urging the country’s Senate to pass Senate Bill 741, banning asbestos.
Ban Asbestos Philippines news releaseRisks 442 • 6 February 2010

Global: Scientists slam Canada’s asbestos trade
Over a hundred prominent scientists in 28 countries have challenged Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who embarked on a trade mission to India on 31 January, to stop Quebec's export of asbestos to the developing world. The assault on Canada’s deadly trade came ahead of the mission to India, a key export market for Canada’s asbestos.
RightOn Canada news release and letter to Premier Charest [pdf] • Montreal GazetteCBC NewsCTV NewsETUI-HESA news reportRisks 442 • 6 February 2010

Britain: Former BT worker gets asbestos cancer
A former BT engineer has received “substantial” compensation after his employers admitted exposing him to asbestos. Unite member Vaughan Toms, 62, was diagnosed with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma in November 2008 after complaining about being breathless to his doctor.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 441 • 30 January 2010

Britain: Union disgust at asbestos law appeal
Insurers have appealed against the decision to allow legislation giving victims of an asbestos-related illness in Scotland the right to claim damages. Last week, a judge rejected a bid to invalidate The Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions)(Scotland) Act which came into force last year and which allows sufferers of pleural plaques, a usually benign scarring of the lungs, to make compensation claims.
UCATT news releaseABI news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 440 • 23 January 2010

Britain: Lunch breaks led to asbestos cancer
A gardener exposed to asbestos when he took his lunch break in a boiler room has been awarded £205,000 compensation after developing a deadly cancer. UNISON helped the 57-year-old, identified as Mr Gaffney, to claim the compensation after he was exposed to asbestos while working for the University of Liverpool during the 1980s.
UNISON news releaseRisks 440 • 23 January 2010

Britain: Insurers defeated over plaques law
Insurance giants have lost a legal bid to overturn a Scottish law which allows victims of an asbestos-related condition to claim damages. Unions and asbestos campaigners welcomed the Court of Session ruling supporting the pleural plaques law that came into force in Scotland last June.
Court of Session opinion on the Judicial ReviewUnite news releaseGMB news releaseUCATT news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseABI news releaseThe HeraldSTV NewsDaily MirrorRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Britain: Workers 'robbed of life and compensation'
Victims of industrial diseases are being denied their full payments, as benefits are clawed back, according to an article in the Independent. Campaigners have told the paper that victims of industrial diseases such as the asbestos cancer mesothelioma are being “robbed” of government compensation because of an “unjust and indefensible” loophole in the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme.
The IndependentRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Britain: Official sums wrong on pleural plaques
Construction union UCATT has demanded urgent answers after discovering the government's liability for pleural plaques victims is a fraction of what had previously been claimed. The union says the government’s fear of footing a high compensation bill is the “principal reason” behind the lengthy delays in announcing a decision on pleural plaques compensation.
UCATT news releaseMorning StarRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Britain: Some asbestos diseases are compensated
While the insurance industry fights to stop pleural plaques being compensated and the government fights the urge to make a decision, other asbestos related conditions are attracting payouts – thanks to union legal services.
UNISON news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Britain: Union casts doubt on official plaques dossier
Construction union UCATT has said the author of a key government report recommending that pleural plaques victims should not receive compensation is not an expert in the field and has not met any pleural plaques sufferers. Professor Robert Maynard, an expert in air pollution, wrote ‘Medical aspects of pleural plaques: a review for the Chief Medical Officer’.
UCATT news releaseRisks 438 • 9 January 2009

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