March 19, 2019

Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Lancashire County Council has paid out almost £700,000 to people with conditions linked to asbestos in the past four years.

County Hall shelled out £672,094 in compensation and costs to victims in the past five years – and the authority has six ongoing claims. besides

Preston City Council also paid out £14,246.59, statistics revealed to the Evening Post.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests reveal 17 people have contacted Lancashire County Council regarding asbestos claims since 2010.

Of those there were three pay outs, five cases where there was no payout and six ongoing claims – with one of those receiving a £50,000 interim damages payment.

The compensation claims came from victims who breathed in asbestos fibres.

It can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, which attacks the lining of organs and is fatal.

All but one of the claimants were employed by the county council and all the claims related to time frames from the 1950s and onwards.

Twelve of the cases related to mesothelioma, one to asbestos -related cancer, one to asbestosis and one is listed as industrial disease.

Their jobs at the council included roadsman, plasterer, cook, heating engineer, a factory worker and teachers.

Meanwhile of the two cases Preston Council dealt with they only paid out compensation in one of them.

The authority was unable to provide information on where in the council the two claimants had worked.

The claimants had mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Campaigners believe payments are likely to soar over the coming decade as more people fall ill and die after being exposed to the material, often decades ago.

Geraldine Coombs, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Asbestos exposure is often regarded as something that only impacts those working within heavy industry, but the presence of the material in so many public buildings such as schools and hospitals, means that more and more people who are not working in traditional construction trades are being affected through no fault of their own.

“We have repeatedly called for a dedicated programme to identify any public buildings around the UK that contain asbestos and continue to pose a danger to those working in them, as well as calling for a schedule to systematically remove asbestos from these premises on a priority basis depending on the state of disrepair in each situation.

Given the vulnerability of children to the potential dangers of asbestos – we would suggest schools are given the highest priority in any action that may be taken.”

Bev Cullen, assistant county solicitor for Lancashire County Council, said: “Each claim is considered on its own facts and will be investigated in accordance with the county council’s insurance arrangements.

“Claims payments are made either from the council’s own reserves set aside for this purpose, our insurers, or a combination of the two. It depends on the date of the exposure, and the insurance arrangements that the county council had in place at the time.

“Claims will be investigated when they’re received. Generally the exposure date goes back many decades, so it is difficult to assess future numbers.”

No-one from Preston Council was available for comment. South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Fylde and Lancaster councils said they had received no claims for compensation.

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Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check

Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check


Last updated 13:26, December 12 2014

An Auckland renovation company manager has been fined $40,000 after he failed to test ceilings at a worksite for asbestos. 

Peter Page, the manager of Apartment Renovation Company, was sentenced today at Auckland District Court on charges laid by WorkSafe of not taking all practical steps to test a substance for asbestos. 

Shane Harris, a handyman employed by the company, raised concern after noticing Page did not test for asbestos before they began work on 10 units at a site in the Auckland suburb of Sandringham. 

Page told Harris he had tested the ceiling and had found there was no asbestos, but when Harris took his own sample it tested positive for the presence of asbestos. 

As a result of Page’s actions, up to 15 contractors were potentially exposed to asbestos over three months. 

Asbestos dust can cause breathing difficulties or even lung cancer if it is inhaled.

Page claimed he thought the textured ceilings were asbestos-free, as they did not have sparkling material visible to the eye.

However Brett Murray, general manager of High Hazards and Specialist Services, said it was a recommended practice to test for asbestos.

“Asbestos is often mixed with other material so it is virtually impossible to identify by eye,” he said. 

“The only way to be certain that materials contain asbestos is to have them tested.” 

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Page was fined $40,000 under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and Health and Safety in Employment Regulations. 

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Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check

Googong and Tralee the winners from ACT asbestos Fluffy buyback, says real Estate Institute

The Inquiry into the proposed Appropriation (Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication) Bill 2014-15. Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane
Rattenbury, centre, faces questions along with other personnel.

The Inquiry into the proposed Appropriation (Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication) Bill 2014-15. Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane
Rattenbury, centre, faces questions along with other personnel. Photo: Graham Tidy

The new NSW suburbs of Googong and Tralee will be the winners from the Mr Fluffy buyback, the head of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT, Ron Bell, has warned, with little land available in the ACT.

Also on Friday, an inquiry into the Fluffy buyback and demolition heard that about 300,000 cubic metres of asbestos-contaminated material from Fluffy homes is expected to be dumped at the West Belconnen tip, with back-up plans to accommodate a lot more.

Thought is also being given to the future of the dump site, with a possibility it will become sportsgrounds, Territories and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said. Asked for detail later, he also raised the possibility of a solar farm on the site, but stressed they were simply ideas and no decisions had been made about the long-term future of the site.

Mr Bell said it would be Canberra’s loss if homeowners bought in Googong and Tralee, near Queanbeyan, with the loss of rates and taxes across the border, but people wanting to build a new home were left with little choice.


“The process will be quicker and land is going to be cheaper,” he said, with NSW planning and development moving faster and few blocks available in the ACT, despite the fact that the stamp duty waiver will not be available to people who buy in NSW.

“You can’t go out and buy a block of land [in the ACT],” he said. “The builders are screaming about that sort of thing.”

Mr Bell, speaking to the inquiry, also suggested Fluffy owners would head for retirement villages and apartments, because of the cost, the lack of land and their stage in life.

Treasurer Andrew Barr told the inquiry the government would release 4000 new house sites next year, and between 3500 and 4000 in each year beyond that. That was an increase from the underlying demand for 2700 to 3000 new sites a year, he said.

He also predicted the influx of Fluffy homeowners would not have a big impact on the real-estate market, given it had been flat for three or four years and was at the mercy largely of Commonwealth job cuts, with more cuts expected at the federal government’s mid-year update in February.

The inquiry heard that officials were expecting 300 cubic metres of material to be dumped at West Belconnen from each of the 1021 Fluffy homes, but the site had capacity for more – up to 480,000 cubic metres.

Questioned about safety, Mr Rattenbury said the material would be secured as it was delivered by truck, then 30 centimetres of cover would be added at the end of each day, and the site would be capped at the end of the demolition. Officials were reviewing the protocols to check they were sufficient for the large-scale dumping.

“There is clearly no intention for asbestos to be blowing around West Belconnen,” he said.

The executive director of the directorate’s business enterprises division, Phillip Perram, said the material would arrive in a bonded state, with a superglue-like material used to bind it before it was loaded on to trucks, giving it the integrity necessary to stop it blowing around.

Labor backbencher Mary Porter raised concerns about contamination of stormwater and groundwater. Mr Perram responded that asbestos fibres were “literally trapped” by the soil and would not enter groundwater. Stormwater was not an issue because the site would be capped. He did not provide details on the question of stormwater contamination during the demolition, given water would be used to damp dust while houses were being demolished.

He suggested the dump site might one day be used for playing fields and walking tracks, a suggestion backed by Mr Rattenbury, who said it wasn’t so much a hole that was being created at West Belconnen as a “land mass” that would be shaped depending on future uses, such as sportsgrounds.

Taskforce head Andrew Kefford said the asbestos removed from the ceilings of Mr Fluffy homes 20 years ago had been dumped at Palmerston, in Gungahlin, at what were now the Gungaderra grasslands.

Fluffy Owners and Residents Action group spokesperson Brianna Heseltine said owners were confused about the evolving advice on whether contents were safe to take with them, with conflicting advice from the Asbestos Taskforce and removalists. The taskforce is leaving decisions largely in the hands of owners, beyond telling them they should not touch anything that has been stored in the subfloor or ceiling space, or in contaminated cupboards. They have also been told that soft furnishings, bedding, linen, soft toys and clothing stored in a contaminated area should be abandoned.

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Googong and Tralee the winners from ACT asbestos Fluffy buyback, says real Estate Institute

No asbestos in Glasgow fire smoke


No asbestos in Glasgow fire smoke

Asbestos scare: 1,300 O.C. students now without a school

A beleaguered Huntington Beach school district has now closed three of its campuses because of an asbestos scare, leaving 1,300 students without a school to attend.

The three grade schools have been closed since last Monday when parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos while the Ocean View School District worked to modernize school sites.

Since then, hundreds of parents have been uncertain when and where their children would return to the classroom.

The school district is losing about $63,000 a day in state funds because students cannot attend class.

About 100 families have requested that their children be transferred to schools in other districts.

“There’s no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore,” said parent Lily Coffin, who said she hoped to move her son to the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

District trustees voted during a special meeting last week to close Lake View, Hope View and Oak View elementary schools for the week, while classrooms were cleaned and tested to make sure they were free of potentially carcinogenic asbestos dust. Lake View was later closed indefinitely, and now the district has decided to keep the other two schools closed indefinitely as well.

“Recently, we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information,” said Gustavo Balderas, Ocean View’s superintendent.

While the district has determined it can move students from Lake View to other campuses in the district, it’s unclear what will happen with the 1,300 students from the other campuses.

Ocean View officials have said they were aware that asbestos has been in their schools for decades. However, parents became upset when they learned the district may have been removing the material as part of a large-scale modernization project while students were present.

Ongoing testing revealed there was asbestos in two classrooms at Lake View, while a single asbestos fiber was found in a classroom at Hope View. Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools in the district. The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer and the district, along with Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not yet provide an estimate of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

The loss of state funds and the cost of asbestos removal could leave the district in financial trouble. Officials said they may end up asking the state to help with costs.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. The fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though coming into contact with asbestos that hasn’t been disturbed isn’t harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn’t detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren’t notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.
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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times


Asbestos scare: 1,300 O.C. students now without a school

East Penn defends handling of buried asbestos-filled construction debris


Charges that the East Penn School District violated environmental laws by burying construction waste containing asbestos near one of its elementary schools were disputed by school officials Monday night.

In the summer of 2013, several dump truck loads of construction debris — including an unknown amount of potentially-hazardous asbestos — were dumped in the woods just west of Wescosville Elementary School in Lower Macungie Township.

East Penn officials say they don’t know who dumped the material behind the school — or where it came from.

But they do know that in the autumn of 2013, unidentified school district officials authorized burying that debris in a clay-lined pit on the same site.

Accusations that the district is involved in a cover-up were made by two residents and one of the school board’s own members during Monday’s school board meeting.

“Covering up a crime is a crime in itself,” said board member Lynn Donches.
“Why don’t we want to know who dumped the waste and who buried it?”

Resident Giovanni Landi also accused the board and administration “of covering up the fact that someone in the school district committed a crime.”

“How many of you before me are complicit in this illegal act?” asked resident Chris Donatelli.

“Two crimes occurred last year,” said Landi. “The first was the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes on school grounds. The second was burying the hazardous waste instead of notifying the authorities.

“It is a felony to dump hazardous materials and it is a felony to bury hazardous materials.”

“Dumping materials that are known to be carcinogenic anywhere is an illegal act,” said Donatelli. “Burying it rather than reporting it is not an innocent act. It is a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that somebody broke the law.”

Board president Alan Earnshaw said characterizing what happened as illegal acts is “a reckless misstatement of the facts.”

And board vice president Ken Bacher requested that people not refer to illegal activities by the school district, saying it has not been established that any illegal activities have been committed by East Penn.

But Donches did not back down from her position that illegal actions were taken at the Wescosville Elementary site – and once again found herself at odds with several of her angry colleagues.

“Has some kind of warrant of arrest been filed?” asked Earnshaw. “Has an indictment been made by law enforcement officers? Has the prosecution of any acts taken place? The answer is no.

“In our society, we are innocent until proven guilty. No one has been accused of a crime. No one has been convicted of a crime.”

Said Donches: “Although there have been no charges or whatever, I do have a statement from the Department of Environmental Protection that it is unlawful to dispose of any waste at a site that does not have a DEP permit to accept such waste.”

Donches maintained the district should have contacted proper authorities when the illegal dumpsite first was discovered on school district property and before any decision was made to bury the construction debris on-site.

“I’m not interested at all in identifying who made mistakes or making this a bigger deal than it really is,” said Superintendent J. Michael Schilder.

“I’ve been assured by DEP, EPA and the asbestos management firm that there is no harm to children or any person in the area, whether it stays in the ground or whether it’s removed.

“EPA went to great lengths to tell us that they thought we were handling it perfectly appropriately and DEP said the same thing.”

Not hazardous asbestos?

Earlier this month, the school board agreed to hire ALM Abatement Services of Coopersburg to remove and properly dispose of soil and associated rubbish that has been contaminated with what is believed to be “non-friable” asbestos.

While asbestos fibers can cause cancer if inhaled, those fibers are less likely to be released in non-friable asbestos. Friable asbestos can be crumbled by hand, releasing the hazardous fibers into the air.

Ballard suggested only a small fraction of the buried debris is asbestos.

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East Penn defends handling of buried asbestos-filled construction debris

Asbestos present in campus buildings

Asbestos present in campus buildings


According to the UNC Department of Housing and Residential Education, since 2009 seven residence halls have been identified as having surfacing materials containing asbestos.

Rick Bradley, associate director of housing and residential education, said that students living on campus should not worry about becoming ill from the asbestos found in their dorms.

“The asbestos is contained and does not pose a health risk,” Bradley said.

In order to ensure the safety of students living in dorms with asbestos, Bradley suggested a few precautions, such as refraining from scraping or attaching items to the walls, ceiling or pipes.

He also said to keep lofted beds at least 3 feet from the ceiling, which is residence hall policy.

“The key is to contain the asbestos and to notify individuals as to the precautions that should be taken,” Bradley said.

Junior Kristin Tajlili has lived in a residence hall each year she’s been at UNC. Two of the dorms she has lived in are on the list of buildings tracked for asbestos.

She said she had not heard about the issue of asbestos on campus until the recent construction in the quad, but she is not concerned about it.

Tajlili said her only complaint is that the University did not tell her before she chose her dorm.

“I think it would have been better to let everyone know (about the presence of asbestos) when applying for housing, because we are paying a lot of money to live on campus,” Tajlili said.

Freshman Riley Foster lives in Hinton James and said knowledge of the asbestos may have factored into her choice of dorm, but ultimately, she is not worried.

“I trust Carolina enough to believe they would not let me live somewhere I was really at risk,” Foster said.

Foster also said she thinks the construction in the quad is a positive sign of the investment the University is making to ensure the safety of its students.

Whether asbestos is in the quad or a residence hall, Foster said she is sure the issues with the material will be addressed.

“If there is a health risk, they’ll make the investment to fix it,” Foster said.

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Asbestos present in campus buildings

Fears for fleet after third navy asbestos discovery

Concerns have been raised about the operational effectiveness of the Naval Service after it emerged that a third vessel has been discovered to have potentially fatal asbestos onboard.

The Irish Examiner can reveal the ageing LÉ Aoife was immobilised off the Cork coast after it was discovered that a blown engine gasket was suspected to contain asbestos.

This came after she was put to sea even though other asbestos-containing material was removed from her days before.

LÉ Aoife was anchored off Ballycotton for nearly 24 hours after the latest discovery of asbestos in its engine room and became the third vessel in the eight-ship fleet to have asbestos issues.

The LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla have been “locked down” for the last couple of weeks at the Naval Service’s base in Haulbowline, Co Cork, after asbestos was found onboard both vessels.

The Naval Service admitted last night that asbestos was found on the LÉ Aoife last week following routine maintenance and she was subsequently sent out on patrol.

A spokesman said that “concern was raised over several gaskets, lagging and other material by staff, one of these items subsequently tested positive for asbestos”.

According to PDFORRA, which represents enlisted members of the Naval Service, the LÉ Aoife, which is over 30 years old, then set sail after the removal of the asbestos.

However, PDFORRA general secretary Gerry Rooney said a gasket in one of the ship’s two engines “blew” last Monday night and she remained anchored off Ballycotton because it was also suspected that it contained asbestos. The ship went back on patrol at about 7pm last night and is expected to brought back into port shortly for a thorough asbestos check.

Mr Rooney said it was “a very worrying development” and that the navy’s “operational capabilities were diminished” as a result of the asbestos issue which, he said, was of “concern” to his members.

Mr Rooney also questioned why the Naval Service had not implem-ented a promise to train numerous personnel quickly in identifying asbestos risks on its ships.

He said it was now imperative that the navy carried out a full audit immediately of all its ships for the substance.

The Naval Service spokesman said a routine maintenance procedure on the LÉ Aoife raised concern by crew members about asbestos still being onboard.

“After the full risk assessment was completed and whilst the procedure was being carried out, a gasket which was being removed raised concerns. This gasket was sealed into a protective bag and removed from the area,” said the spokesman.

“It should be stressed that this gasket has not yet been tested so it is impossible to state if it contains asbestos. This gasket was also covered in lubricant and had not been handled or ground in such a manner that could potentially lead to the release of any harmful fibres should they prove to be present,” he said.

The spokesman said the health and welfare of its personnel remained its primary concern. “All Health and Safety Authority guidelines were followed as those issues were addressed.”

It is expected the LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla will return to service when the experts remove their asbestos “which is estimated to take a number of weeks”.

“Following the recent experiences, the Naval Service has introduced further precautionary protocols on all vessels and the level of awareness of this potential risk has also been raised to mitigate any potential risk,” said the spokesman.

Commenting on the LÉ Aoife, the spokesman said the vessel would be examined by an expert contractor when she comes back into Haulbowline, but did not stipulate exactly when that might be, primarily for security reasons.

The spokesman added that “the Naval Service is currently engaged with their personnel to further inform them on these issues and address their concerns in a proactive manner”.

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Fears for fleet after third navy asbestos discovery

Asbestos dumped outside public toilet

Asbestos sheets left outside public toilet on Elm Road, Leigh, for more than two weeks

Echo: Risk to the public – construction worker Nigel Low with asbestos dumped outside the public toilets on Elm Road

Risk to the public – construction worker Nigel Low with asbestos dumped outside the public toilets on Elm Road

A BUILDER has hit out at the council for waiting more than two weeks to remove dumped asbestos from a public toilet.

The asbestos was identified by Nigel Low, 45, a construction worker of Leamington Road, Southchurch, who spotted it outside the toilets in Elm Road while walking his dog.

He believes the council has been slow in removing it, claiming he first called them about it three weeks ago.

Mr Low said: “I work on sites in London and have been given asbestos awareness training, so I knowwhat the material looks like.

“People are using the toilets and walking past and don’t even know what it is.

“It’s a public health risk, but the people I was speaking to at the council were nonchalant about it.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

A spokesman for the council said staff had been out to inspect the asbestos, but as it was not broken up, did not consider it an immediate risk.

Steven Crowther, Southend Council’s group manager for waste and environmental care, said: “A report was received on March 24 regarding two undamaged asbestos sheets that had been flytipped in Leigh.

“An environmental care officer visited the site the next day to assess the public health risk and begin an investigation. The asbestos sheets were solid, fully intact, undamaged, outside and deemed to pose no risk to the public in their undamaged state.

“The officer made several return trips to re-assess the risk.

“An investigation was undertaken as we have a duty to find out who dumped the material, potentially prosecute and ensure the offenders dispose of the material correctly and at their own cost.

“However, the investigation proved inconclusive, so we raised an order with our specialist contractor on April 9. Their contract with us means they have to remove waste for us within 48 hours.

“We would urge people to dispose of hazardous waste correctly and through authorised and licensed waste carriers, whose details are available on our website.”

Asbestos was popular for its sound absorption and resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, but can cause illnesses such as lung cancer.

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Asbestos dumped outside public toilet

Senator wades in to asbestos row at psych hospital

A senator who worked at psychiatric hospital which is at the centre of an asbestos row says that HSE plans to remove the material while patients are still in situ is simply not an option.

Senator John Gilroy knows St Stephen’s Hospital better than most, having worked as a psychiatric nurse there for 20 years before being elected to the Seanad in 2011.

He has waded into the controversy after psychiatric nurses staged a protest outside the hospital to highlight their “grave concerns” about plans to remove asbestos from a ward while the patients continue to be housed there.

Mr Gilroy said he couldn’t understand why the HSE couldn’t wait to do the job when the ward is closed for a major refurbishment in three weeks’ time.

The HSE maintains that the work can be undertaken with the 13 male patients in situ because experts say the removal of the asbestos is classified as “very low risk”.

The asbestos is contained in the floor of the ward and the HSE said works areas will be partitioned off.

The HSE also said that the partitions will be sealed off preventing any air pollutants leaving the works area.

However, Mr Gilroy said, regardless of this, the noise alone will be extremely disruptive to patients and staff.

“If they are removing asbestos from the floor they’ll probably have to use kango hammers. If this was happening at Cork University Hospital, I’m sure the patients wouldn’t be left in the ward,” he said.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) says it could move all the patients into a unit less than 50 metres away.

The hospital originally opened in 1955 to deal with tuberculosis cases. With developments in treatment for TB the need for beds in the hospital declined and so it became a psychiatric hospital.

“Back then dangers of asbestos weren’t realised. In its intact form there’s no risk, but when it’s broken up the dust presents the problem. There should be an asbestos audit and risk assessment of all the buildings in the hospital,” he said.

The senator said he remembered a few years ago that asbestos had to be removed from another ward at the hospital and the patients were transferred to another building until the work was complete.

The builders were supposed to move in last Monday, but didn’t arrive on site. It was the same day the PNA held its protest.

It’s understood the PNA is considering what further steps it might take to protect the health and safety of patients and staff.

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Senator wades in to asbestos row at psych hospital