2019 Year In Review – Part 1
by Connor Burke
As we all begin a new year we are going to take a look back at the biggest stories and talking points in the world of asbestos from the last 12 months.
In January, we saw the continued problem of asbestos in UK schools. The BBC reported that almost a quarter of schools had not told the government the extent of their asbestos problems or even how they were going to manage the deadly substance in their buildings. This led to calls from the Public Accounts Committee to have those that have not responded to be ‘named and shamed’. The issue of asbestos in schools reared its head throughout the year with reports showing that many education facilities in the UK do indeed contain asbestos materials.
Moving on to February and the story of John Carey. John, an electrician from Luton, was successful in his legal challenge against Vauxhall Motors because of the asbestos dust that had been brought home on his work uniform. This dust was subsequently found to have been the cause of his late wife’s fatal mesothelioma, as she had unknowingly inhaled the asbestos fibres, that had been picked up and carried home on his overalls.
Into the spring, in April the EPA in America issued a regulation that made it tougher to manufacture, import or sell asbestos made products domestically in the United States, thus closing a loophole in the partial ban that had been legislated 30 years ago. The law was tougher that what had been proposed originally by the EPA but also fell short of the fall ban that had been called for by many environmental groups.
Hospitals were another institution that were discovered to contain asbestos related materials. In May the NHS trust was handed a £16,000 fine due to what the HSE call exposing workers to a ‘potentially lethal risk’. The watchdog claimed that these materials were not being recorded correctly and claimed that the actions of the trust were ‘inadequate’.
In the second part of our review we will continue exploring the big moments in the asbestos world from 2019.