February 18, 2019

Man suffering from asbestos poisoning died at St Wilfrid’s

A 75-year old Hailsham man suffering from asbestos poisoning died a week after being admitted to St Wilfrid’s Hospice, an inquest has heard.

James Spencer, of Harmers Hay Road in Hailsham, was taken into the Hospice on January 10, 2015 but died a week later, on January 17.

At his inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 12, the court heard how Mr Spencer was a specialist joiner by trade. In an in-life statement written by Mr Spencer’s solicitors, he told how he worked as a carpenter and shop fitter for W.K Nelson King, where he was exposed to asbestos on a number of occasions. Much of his work was done in basements, where pipes would be covered with asbestos lagging.

Later, he worked for Turner and Dean, where he was let out as a sub-contractor for Bell and Pearson. The work, which was overseen by East Sussex County Council, involved cutting soffits and boards that were made of asbestos sheets.

He said he was never given any information about asbestos, nor any protective mask. He used to sweep up the dust with a dustpan and brush at the end of each day.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of death by industrial disease.

Mr Craze felt assured that Mr Spencer suffered from asbestos poisoning, which is on the list of industrial diseases, and that he died as a cause of the infection and did not simply have it as a secondary illness. He was also convinced Mr Spencer contracted the disease during many years of exposure at work.

While a post mortem was not carried out, a junior nurse at St Wilfrid’s Hospice agreed with the cause of death as asbestos poisoning.

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Man suffering from asbestos poisoning died at St Wilfrid’s

Warrnambool council depot closes after asbestos scare

ASBESTOS contamination fears were sparked after suspicious-looking sheeting was thrown into a crusher at a Warrnambool depot.

The gates are locked at Warrnambool City Council’s Scott Street depot after an asbestos scare. 141212RG17 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

The gates are locked at Warrnambool City Council’s Scott Street depot after an asbestos scare. 141212RG17 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Warrnambool City Council’s Strong Street depot was in lockdown yesterday after the discovery of material believed to contain asbestos.

About 20 depot staff were working in the vicinity at the time the sheeting was found.

A snap meeting between council chiefs and workers was held yesterday morning.

Australian Services Union regional organiser Mark Brady said the suspicious sheeting was placed in a concrete crusher, leading to concerns over the potential spread of asbestos particles.

“This is going to be a massive cost to the council one way or another,” Mr Brady said.

“What we understand is the sheeting was identified as potentially asbestos on Tuesday, yet it’s only when we get to Thursday when there’s some strong reaction to the problem.

“The concrete crusher reduces material to powder, which is the state at which asbestos is at its most dangerous. If that’s got onto people’s skin, onto clothing and picked up by the wind, that is a real concern.”

Dust-supressing sprinklers were turned on and other precautions taken as safety officials travelled from Geelong yesterday to contain the site and assess if the crushed material was asbestos.

Text messages were sent to Strong Street depot workers on Thursday evening informing them not to go to work yesterday.

The city council confirmed that a small amount of asbestos-like sheeting was found on Tuesday and was bagged and sealed following expert advice.

The sheeting was found with used road-making materials which were being prepared for recycling.

On Wednesday another quantity of sheeting was discovered near stockpiled road materials, which led council officials to close the depot while testing of the material took place.

City council chief executive Bruce Anson said an independent expert was undertaking an extensive audit of the depot yesterday.

“The initial assessment across our entire depot and around its boundaries has shown there is no asbestos contamination beyond the few pieces found that have since been sealed and removed,” Mr Anson said in a statement. “The closure of the depot is a precautionary measure while we determine whether there is a serious problem and, if there is, the extent of it.”

Mr Anson said WorkSafe had been notified and the city council was following recommended procedures.

“The material thought to contain asbestos was hosed down to ensure it was contained,” he said. “We’re keeping our depot staff — who informed us of the suspect material — apprised of the situation.”

Mr Brady said the workers operating the crusher had not been trained to handle asbestos, adding that the incident highlighted the need for greater checks and balances.

“We’re all too aware of the horrors of asbestos from the news over the years,” the ASU official said.

“We need to ensure our work sites are safe and one of the ways to do that is to provide proper training.”

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Warrnambool council depot closes after asbestos scare

Fairfield residents fear post-storm asbestos threat

>ANSA-ANALISI Fresh hope for families of Eternit asbestos victi

>ANSA-ANALISI Fresh hope for families of Eternit asbestos victi

Former company owner could face charges over 263 asbestos deaths

(ANSA) – Rome, November 20 – Families of victims of deadly
asbestos poisoning took hope Thursday after prosecutors in Turin
completed a homicide probe into former Eternit owner Stephan
Schmidheiny that could see him face charges over 263 deaths,
said ANSA sources.
That came one day after Italy’s highest appeals body, the
Court of Cassation, overturned an 18-year prison sentence
against the Swiss tycoon, whose now-defunct Eternit ran several
asbestos cement plants blamed for more than 2,000 deaths.
Grieving families of victims, outraged over Wednesday’s
supreme court decision, took hope from the Turin case as well as
from government pledges on Thursday to change the statute of
limitations law that led to the annulment of the sole conviction
in the asbestos environmental disaster.
Schmidheiny had been charged with failing to provide
adequate safety measures at the plants, but the high court said
the case had timed out.
Schmidheiny has denied the charges.
In a statement Thursday, the Cassation Court added its
remit was to deal only with the issue of an asbestos
environmental disaster from 1986, the year an Eternit factory
closed, rather than with individual cases of illnesses and
The objective “was to ascertain whether or not the disaster
occurred,” the Court said in a note.
Turin prosecutors opened three separate cases related to
the Eternit factories, including one involving murder
allegations against Schmidheiny.
The second case refers to
Italians who died after working in Eternit plants in Switzerland
and Brazil, and the third concerns a major quarry near Turin
that produced asbestos and was connected to Eternit.
Premier Matteo Renzi meanwhile said he would change Italy’s
statute of limitations, a promise supported by leaders of the
Lower House and Senate who said they reached an agreement on the
procedure for moving Renzi’s bill through parliament.
“If a case like Eternit is a timed-out crime, then we have
to change the rules of the game on the statute of limitations,”
Renzi told RTL radio station.
“We can’t have the nightmare of the statute of limitations
(in these cases).
You cannot deprive people of the demand for
justice,” Renzi said.
“I was struck, as an ordinary citizen, by the interviews
with the families (of the victims).
They made me shudder a
About 150 people belonging to an Eternit victims group
protested Wednesday outside the Cassation Court including many
from Casale Monferrato in Piedmont, and others from different
regions of northern Italy as well as people from Switzerland and
Their leader Romana Blasotti, 85, lost five family members
to asbestos-related diseases, which can often take many years to
One of the most common diseases, mesothelioma, can take
decades after contamination to make itself known, making
liability hard to prove.
“We want justice, and we believe that we will have it,
after 35 years of struggle,” said Blasotti, whose husband died
in 1983, followed by a sister, a niece, a cousin and a daughter.
“When we started our battle, we knew we had to do it for
our young people…but we did not succeed.
The death rate in
Casale continues at a rate of 50 to 60 deaths per year,” she
Paolo Liedholm of Casale Monferrato, who lost his mother to
asbestos-related illness, was bitter about Wednesday’s decision,
saying people continue to die with no recourse.
“Now we have clearly established this: if you want to kill
someone in Italy the best means is asbestos because it is
legal,” he said.
He added that victims believe the peak in asbestos-related
deaths has not yet occurred because of the time it takes for the
disease to appear.
Asbestos-linked tumours have been reported among Eternit
staff, their families and people living near the factories who
were affected by asbestos dust in the air, while hundreds more
fell ill.
Employees and their families have long claimed that Eternit
did little or nothing to protect its workers and residents
living around its factories from the dangers of asbestos.
The Italian National Magistrates Association (ANM) said
Thursday that it has been calling for Italy’s statute of
limitations laws to be changed for years.
“Magistrates have been raising the problem of the statute
of limitations for years”, Rodolfo Sabelli, president of the ANM

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>ANSA-ANALISI Fresh hope for families of Eternit asbestos victi

Asbestos risk is low from Rozelle disaster, residents told

Asbestos risk is low from Rozelle disaster, residents told



Damien Murphy

Speaking out: A resident addresses a community meeting held on Sunday about the clean-up efforts after the fatal explosion in Darling Street, Rozelle.

Speaking out: A resident addresses a community meeting held on Sunday about the clean-up efforts after the fatal explosion in Darling Street, Rozelle. Photo: James Alcock

The cordoned-off area along Darling Street, Rozelle, is growing smaller as police continue to investigate the explosion and fire that killed three people.

More than 200 people affected by the explosion that tore through the Rozelle convenience store attended a community meeting on Sunday amid growing fears of asbestos contamination.

Police moved to assure residents that the risk was low.

No-go zone: the scene on Sunday as residents and business owners of Balmain and Rozelle await clearance to return to the closed site of last week's explosion in Darling Street.

No-go zone: the scene on Sunday as residents and business owners of Balmain and Rozelle await clearance to return to the closed site of last week’s explosion in Darling Street. Photo: James Alcock

Inspector Gary Coffey told the meeting that no airborne particles had been found by scientists who have been checking the site since the fire on Thursday morning.


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Asbestos risk is low from Rozelle disaster, residents told

Asbestos caused death of former carriageworks employee

Asbestos caused death of former carriageworks employee

York Press: Asbestos caused death of former carriageworks employee

Asbestos caused death of former carriageworks employee

A retired electrical technician has died as a result of inhaling asbestos during 15 years’ working at York Carriageworks, an inquest has heard.

In a statement to his solicitors before his death, Derek Wilson, 65, described how blue and white asbestos was thrown into the air by work on carriages at the British Rail Engineering plant on Holgate Road where he worked from 1973 to 1988.

He got so dirty from the dust, he needed to wash at the end of his shift.

The inquest at New Earswick Folk Hall heard that Mr Wilson, of Bellhouse Way, Foxwood, died at St Leonard’s Hospice, York, on March 29, 2014.

A post mortem revealed he had asbestos fibres in his body and had died from malignant mesothelioma, a form of cancer commonly caused by asbestos which is recognised as an industrial disease. He had been diagnosed as having the disease more than a year earlier.

York coroner Donald Coverdale concluded he had died from an industrial disease and that the mesothelioma had been caused by inhaling asbestos dust during his work at the carriageworks.

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Asbestos caused death of former carriageworks employee

Asbestos risk closes school for another week

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

The potential for asbestos contamination at a primary school will keep students away until at least Thursday next week.

Bayfield School in Auckland’s Herne Bay closed on Thursday last week after tests showed the possibility that asbestos dust had drifted outside a contained worksite on the school grounds.

Students were kept home from school on Friday and this week they had been attending nearby Ponsonby Primary School, where they were being taught in the school hall and additional classrooms.

Bayfield Board of Trustees’ chairman David McPherson said in a statement today that the school would be closed until all demolition work was completed.

The school was demolishing classrooms on site due to leaky building problems, and the school swimming pool was also being removed.

“The safety of our students and teaching staff is paramount, so we won’t re-open the school until we are assured, through the Board’s independent review process, that the site is safe,” Mr McPherson said.

Once the school is re-opened, building would not go ahead until the board could verify the work would be undertaken safely, he said.

Two investigations were underway into the process of the asbestos removal.

“We will await the results of these investigations, which will also be shared with the community,” Mr McPherson said.

“In fairness to the various parties involved in those investigations it is important that we don’t jump to conclusions about the process that was undertaken.”

An asbestos-contaminated building was demolished during the school holidays, however the demolished material was not removed from the school site until Friday last week.

There was concern that during that time asbestos dust had travelled from the work site to the rest of the school grounds.


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Asbestos risk closes school for another week

Two City Hall inspectors plead guilty in Kensington Heights asbestos case

They were supposed to be the watchdogs, the final word on whether asbestos was properly removed from the Kensington Heights housing complex.

Instead, they allowed cancer-causing material to escape into the air.

Two City Hall inspectors, William Manuszewski and Donald Grzebielucha, pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor crimes in connection with the botched asbestos-removal effort at the vacant East Side development.

A third, Theodore Lehmann, who retired from the state Department of Labor, is expected to follow suit next week.

If that happens, it would mark an end to the government’s three-year-old prosecution of companies and individuals involved in the cleanup of Kensington Heights, a symbol of decay and decline for three decades.

“The defendants did inspections at the buildings,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said of Manuszewski and Grzebielucha on Thursday, “and during those inspections, asbestos material was released into the air.”

The two inspectors, as part of their plea deals, stopped well short of admitting they falsified records, the allegation in the government’s 2011 indictment. They pleaded guilty instead to negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act and admitted putting other people at risk because of their actions.

The plea deals, reached just days before they went on trial before U.S. District Richard J. Arcara, mean Manuszewski and Grzebielucha get misdemeanor, not felony, convictions.

In addition, Manuszewski will be able to keep his job with the city, according to defense lawyer Michael J. Stachowski. Grzebielucha is retired.

Stachowski said his client weighed the risks and benefits of going to trial versus taking a plea and in the end decided it was best to acknowledge that he and City Hall were partly to blame for the problems at Kensington Heights.

“He was untrained and ill-equipped,” Stachowski said of Manuszewski.

If Lehmann also pleads guilty – his lawyer, Mark S. Carney, said he intends to take a plea deal next week – it would end a criminal case that rocked the neighborhood around the housing complex.

When prosecutors announced their indictment of nine individuals and two companies connected to the asbestos-removal project, residents who live and work around the site raised questions about the potential health effects of the bungled asbestos project.

The 17-acre complex, located behind Erie County Medical Center, is also near three schools and a park frequently used by youth sports teams.

Air samples from the neighborhood later indicated that asbestos levels inside the complex’s six towers exceeded federal standards but levels outside the complex did not.

Manuszewski and Grzebielucha became the seventh and eighth defendants and the first inspectors to plead guilty in the three-year-old case. The other plea deals involved two asbestos-removal contractors and four private compliance monitors.

The grand jury indictment also charged two companies, Johnson Contracting of Buffalo and JMD Environmental Inc. of Grand Island, but those charges were dropped when the companies went out of business.

Johnson was hired to remove and dispose of the estimated 63,000 square feet of asbestos in each of the six towers, and JMD was hired to monitor their work.

Ernest Johnson, president of the asbestos-removal company, recently pleaded guilty and, as part of his plea deal, admitted his role in the bungled project. Among other things, his workers dumped asbestos down holes cut in the floors.

The initial allegations against the two city inspectors involved falsifying inspection reports from the Fillmore Avenue development.

Manuszewski, for example, was accused of using his final inspection reports to claim that asbestos work in five of the complex’s six buildings had been completed when, in fact, he knew it had not been finished.

Manuszewski and Grzebielucha will be sentenced by Arcara on Aug. 18.

email: pfairbanks@buffnews.com

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Two City Hall inspectors plead guilty in Kensington Heights asbestos case

Asbestos death creeps up on victims

Julie and Don Sager had no idea of the danger they were exposing their toddler Adam to when they sanded the walls of their house in the early 1980s.

Their boy ran around sweeping up the dust that was left behind, his parents unaware it contained deadly asbestos.

It was a common material used in thousands of buildings across Australia until the late 1980s.

In his early 20s, Adam felt a sharp pain in his chest and had to go to hospital to have fluid drained from his lungs.

He had malignant mesothelioma, a form of cancer common in people who were exposed to asbestos at work.

It slowly became harder and harder for Adam to breathe, until one night he was rushed to hospital.

His dad remembers telling Adam to keep breathing, but his son closed his eyes.

“I thought `oh ok, that’s it,’ and then he opened his eyes,” Julie said, recalling her son’s final moments.

“They were crystal clear, beautiful blue. He looked at Don, and he looked at me, and he smiled at both of us and then he just closed his eyes again.”

The Sagers spoke at the launch of Queensland’s asbestos plan on Thursday morning.

The scheme includes a hotline, a website and an education program to help people find out if there’s asbestos in their homes.

Widow Helena Simpson told AAP outside the launch of how her husband Bill ran his own air-conditioning business.

She remembers him crawling through ceilings and drilling holes in walls, kicking up thick clouds of asbestos dust.

“They used to roll clumps of it into balls and throw it at each other,” she said.

One year he began to get thinner, lose his balance and have seizures.

They thought it was emphysema but when the tests came back it was mesothelioma.

Bill Simpson died less than five years later.

Not only did Helena lose her companion, but she now lives with the knowledge that she could die the same way because she had washed his clothes for years.

“I still have to have checks, but I’m ok with it now,” she said.

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Asbestos death creeps up on victims

Assembly passes asbestos lawsuits bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A bill opponents say would deny justice to people exposed to asbestos has passed the Wisconsin Assembly.

Veterans are among the most vocal opponents of the measure passed on a party line 55-38 vote Thursday. The bill now heads to Gov. Scott Walker.

The heavily lobbied proposal would require plaintiffs who have suffered from asbestos exposure to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to sue. They would also have to go after money from an asbestos trust before they could sue for more in court.

Proponents argue it is needed to prevent filing multiple claims against both trust funds set up to pay victims of asbestos exposure as well as individual businesses.

Democrats argue the changes would make it more difficult for people harmed by asbestos to collect damages.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Assembly passes asbestos lawsuits bill