February 18, 2019

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

Beccles Library.
Beccles Library.

Monday, February 16, 2015

8:55 AM

New figures have revealed how victims of asbestos-related diseases have been paid more than £200,000 in compensation from councils around the region over the past five years.

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Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p>” width=”465″ src=”/polopoly_fs/1.3957364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_490/image.jpg” /><em>Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p>And local authorities have acknowledged potentially deadly asbestos is still present in scores of schools, homes, libraries, fire stations and other council properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.</p>
<p>While councils stress the substance is not a risk to health if left undisturbed, compensation has been paid to former council workers who developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, after they were exposed to the dust during their employment.</p>
<p>Mesothelioma is a lung cancer which kills nearly 50 people a week in the UK. It is caused by exposure to specks of asbestos, which used to be used as coatings and insulation.</p>
<p>According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 713 deaths from mesothelioma in Norfolk between 1981 and 2011; 593 in Suffolk; and 332 in Cambridgeshire.</p>
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What is mesothelioma?

-Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can develop in the tissues covering the lungs or the abdomen.

-Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, is in the tissue covering the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma is in the lining of the abdomen.

-Symptoms include pain in the chest or lower back, shortness of breath, a fever or night sweats, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, no appetite and weight loss.

-More than 2,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and men are five times more likely to be diagnosed than women.

-Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a soft, greyish-white material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire.

-The outlook for mesothelioma is poor because it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma will die within three years of being diagnosed, and the average person survives for around 12 months.

-Every year in the UK, there are around 2,300 deaths from the condition and it is estimated that, by 2050,

90,000 people in the UK will have died as a result of mesothelioma.

Figures revealed council compensation payments for asbestos-related diseases since 2009 included three former Norwich City Council workers. A 65-year-old received £156,000 in 2009, while a 78-year-old and a 60-year-old received £35,300 and £10,700 in 2010. A 2012 claim by a 79-year-old has yet to be decided.

Other payments were to a former West Norfolk Council worker who repaired prefabricated council houses, who received more than £2,700 and just over £9,400 to an ex-Waveney District Council housing maintenance worker. There were no claims in Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk or North Norfolk, while two claims to Great Yarmouth Borough Council were not successful. Cambridgeshire County Council has had four claims since 2009, of which one was successful, while Suffolk County Council has had three claims, of which two are ongoing.

One of those claims is from a former Suffolk pupil who claims to have developed the condition while at one of the county’s schools.

Norfolk County Council has received seven claims since 2009, for a total of just under £15,000. The council refused to reveal how many claims had been successful or how much had been paid.

Which buildings contain asbestos?

Council-owned Norfolk and Suffolk buildings which have been found to have asbestos:

-County Hall, Norwich

-Castle Museum

-Strangers’ Hall

-Wensum Lodge

-Sprowston High School

-Great Yarmouth High School

-Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft

-Cromer Fire Station

-Wymondham Fire Station

-Acle Fire Station

-King’s Lynn Library

-Beccles Library

-Brundall Library

-Swaffham Library

-Diss Register Office

-Thetford Register Office

But a spokesman did say it had spent more than £2m over the past five years to remove materials which contain asbestos from its buildings.

Dozens of schools, libraries, fire stations, Norwich Castle and County Hall itself, all contain such materials, the council confirmed.

Derryth Wright, health safety and wellbeing manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “The HSE states that asbestos does not pose a risk to health when it is intact and in good condition, and our programme of work reflects this position.

“All of our schools have had a survey undertaken to identify and assess the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACM).”

Norwich City Council says 2,327 properties, including council houses, are identified as having low-risk types of asbestos, such as in some types of Artex or vinyl floor tiles.

A spokesman said it was “highly unlikely to release asbestos fibres in normal use” but that there were plans for removal in 636 properties.

Are you taking legal action after developing an asbestos-related disease? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk



    New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

    Row as flytippers dump asbestos waste outside Hampshire village hall

    Row as council refusing to dispose of fly-tipped asbestos from community hall used by families

    Some of the bags of dangerous waste dumped next to hall used by the community.

    Some of the bags of dangerous waste dumped next to hall used by the community.

    First published

    A ROW has erupted after fly-tippers dumped hazardous builders’ waste outside a village hall.

    Four bags of rubbish, including potentially dangerous asbestos, were left in the car park at Plaitford Village Hall near Romsey.

    Test Valley Borough Council will not remove the waste as it is on private land, telling the volunteers who run the hall that they will have to arrange and pay for it to be removed.

    Village hall chairman Sarah Pearce said: “I feel that the council should remove the rubbish as a measure of goodwill as we have their recycling bins situated in our car park.

    “We receive no payment for this.

    “On many occasions we have had to clear broken glass and rubbish from these, which are not our responsibility.”

    Daily Echo:

    Fellow hall committee member Andrew Turnbull said: “The recycling bags were dumped about ten days ago and contain asbestos materials. Once other people realise rubbish is being dumped here I am worried more will follow.

    “Test Valley have not been very helpful at all with this.

    “We are a charity and the hall is run by volunteers and we haven’t got the money to pay for it to be removed.”

    The committee is now trying to find someone to dispose of the unwanted waste materials.

    Test Valley Borough Council says that removing dumped rubbish is costly and it’s down to owners of private land to call in experts to get rid of it.

    A spokesperson said: “We regret that the village hall committee is unhappy with the council’s response.

    “The council investigates all reports of fly-tipping and will remove fly-tipped waste from public land. However, when waste is fly-tipped on private land, as with this particular case, it is the landowner’s responsibility.

    “We are unable to remove fly-tipped waste from private land as this would mean taxpayers picking up the cost of the clear-up.

    “We have spoken with the committee and provided details of how to arrange removal of the asbestos.”

    Taken from: 

    Row as flytippers dump asbestos waste outside Hampshire village hall

    Inquest hears council worker &#39;most likely exposed to asbestos&#39;

    A former Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) worker who died from mesothelioma was “most likely exposed to asbestos, though the circumstances of her exposure remain unclear”, a coroner has ruled.

    Valerie Smith, 61, from Ewell, died on April 8 2014 from the rare type of cancer, which affects the lungs and abdomen.

    An inquest into her death, which heard from other former council employees, was held on Tuesday (January 13) at Woking Coroner’s Court.

    Ms Smith worked for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council between 1987 and 2010, initially at the Old Town Hall in Epsom.

    In 1992, she transferred to the Parks and Recreation Department, based at the Rainbow Leisure Centre in East Street.

    It was while working there that Ms Smith believed she was fatally exposed to asbestos.

    The Rainbow Leisure Centre, previously the Epsom Baths, was refurbished in 1987/88 and it was believed that all traces of asbestos were removed from the building, and the majority of the pipes were replaced.

    John Vadgama, manager of the centre in 1988, told the inquest: “If there was any asbestos, it would have been dealt with during the refurbishment.

    “I worked at the Rainbow Leisure Centre from February 1988 and there were no issues arising of any asbestos being found.”

    ‘Not a designated person’

    Ms Smith believed she was exposed to asbestos when walking through a passageway that went underneath the swimming pool, which she said she used two to four times a week to get to her office.

    However, Mr Vadgama told the coroner that only authorised personnel could use the passage, which was accessed by four doors.

    “I used to visit [the centre] once a week or in the event of something needed to be looked at,” he said.

    “The reasons we kept people out of there [the passageway] was there was a valve to the main swimming pool, somebody could have opened that, and there were thermostats of the showers of the swimming pool.

    “I think in the nature of anything, no system is absolutely perfect, I would say 90% to 95% of the time it was locked and 5% to 10% it was unlocked.

    “There were three duty managers, a plant operator, deputy manager, assistance manager and myself, those people had keys and access to that area.

    “It was necessary to access this area for maintenance, there was somebody down there every day, the keys would have been kept on the person, individuals did not have keys.

    “I never encountered somebody down there who should not have been down there.

    “Valerie Smith was not a designated person to be in the under passage, she worked in one of the offices.”

    But the court heard that Ms Smith and some of her colleagues used the passage on a regular basis to access the parks office.


    During her time working at the Old Town Hall, asbestos was removed from the toilets on the ground floor and it was listed as having confirmed asbestos in an inspection some time after 1980.

    Diane Brighton, Ms Smith’s sister, said: “She was exposed twice to asbestos, at the baths and at the refurbished toilets at the town hall.

    “The asbestos was removed but it was 10 metres from the area she was working from, it was just plastic that covered it.”

    Coroner Martin Fleming recorded a narrative verdict of death by mesothelioma.

    “It’s most likely she was exposed to asbestos, though the circumstances of her exposure remain unclear,” Mr Fleming said.

    Ms Brighton issued a statement following the verdict, saying: “At the start of this journey, it was made clear to us that the reason for the inquest was not to apportion blame or to point a finger, but to try to find out the circumstances of how Valerie came to contract this terrible disease [which led to] her ultimate death.

    “We knew that it was going to be a difficult and complex case. Valerie was certain that she was exposed while employed at EEBC. 

    “Unfortunately, due to time frames of 25-30 years ago, records and exact details have been difficult/impossible to obtain.

    “Obviously we were disappointed that the coroner reached a narrative verdict.

    “Ideally we would have preferred a definite conclusion, but we partly knew this was not going to be the case.

    “We feel that we have done all that is asked, and retained pride and dignity for Valerie.”

    Jump to original:

    Inquest hears council worker &#39;most likely exposed to asbestos&#39;

    Emerson has cabinets containing asbestos removed

    The Borough of Emerson had filing cabinets containing asbestos removed from borough hall in August, months after borough employees first expressed concern that they may have been emitting clouds of dust containing fibers of the cancer-causing material.

    Clerk Carol Dray reported rumors of asbestos contamination in April, according to borough records. Borough Administrator Joseph Scarpa contacted Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), the borough’s insurance company, approximately three months later to ask for the name of an asbestos contractor to conduct tests.

    “The question begs to be asked: Why did he wait until July to take any action…?” Dray inquired in an email to members of the governing body.

    When asked, Scarpa gave no explanation for the lapse in time between when he received complaints about possible asbestos contamination and when he took action on the issue.

    In a press statement Scarpa said, “I continue to believe that any of this asbestos information should not have been released by the borough clerk in the first place, as this is still clearly an open matter that involves the elements of personnel, potential litigation and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act] protections. The governing body recently saw fit to take the drastic measure of censuring a council colleague for supposedly releasing basically the same type of information… I will not elaborate on this matter anymore… out of fear of personal reprisal from the mayor and council, and because I believe it is not in the best interest of the borough.”

    Purchased in 2009, the refurbished fire-proof cabinets showed visible deterioration, explained Mayor Carlos Colina in an interview. Detail Associates, Inc., an environmental engineering firm certified by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Department of Health, confirmed the presence of asbestos in the suspect cabinets and on documents inside them.

    “It was the administrator’s role to address that. Why did it take him that long to take action?” Colina asked. “The positive test results and finding of asbestos fibers… was important enough to take action on an immediate basis.”

    Following initial testing in mid- July, Stephen Jaraczewski, president of Detail Associates, Inc., explained that “Proper removal is highly recommended.” Nearly 20 days later, Best Removal Inc. Asbestos Removal Contractors & Consultants rid Borough Hall of the cabinets on Aug. 5.

    Scarpa said to his knowledge there is no asbestos remaining in Borough Hall.

    Although the cabinets reportedly discharged “poofs” of dust, air samples in Borough Hall tested in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to an email from Jaraczewski to the borough.

    More – 

    Emerson has cabinets containing asbestos removed