Company director Robert Marsh has been sentenced to 12 months in jail after he supplied secondhand roofing containing asbestos which lead to the death of Tony Podmore. Mr Podmore had been hired to construct a roof using the materials. As a result of the poor quality panels, Mr Podmore fell through the roof landing on concrete six meters below. He later died in hospital because of his injuries.
The pre-used roofing sheets were sold to a farming partnership for £4000. The farming partnership were led to believe they were receiving a quality product however the roofing hadn’t cost Mr Podmore anything apart from the £250 delivery expense.
The court were told how Mr Podmore fell through the fragile asbestos concrete sheets while working on the roof. The court also heard how Mr Marsh tried to persuade witnesses to help hide the sheets and that they were all going to “take the fall for this”.
Before the court hearing it was revealed how the family of Mr Podmore was told he fell of the side of the roof rather than through the sheets and how Mr Marsh tried to persuade them not to report to incident to the Health & Safety Executive.
At the trial Mr Marsh pleaded guilty to a contravention of The Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals Regulations 2008 and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was ruled that the asbestos panels were a significant contributing factor that led to the death of Mr Podmore.
Along with the 12 month sentence, Mr Marsh has been banned from being a director for 6 years and and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.
Judge Michael Cullum said the actions of Mr Marsh was “wholly reprehensible” and that he acted selfishly to maximise profits by compromising health and safety. After the sentencing HSE inspector Luke Messenger said the health risks of asbestos filled panels were widely known and have been banned for many years.
“Mr Marsh demonstrated a complete disregard for the law for his financial gain. In this case, the weak second-hand panels he supplied were a significant contributing factor to the death of Mr Podmore.” Mr Cullum said.
Over 3000 people a year die in the UK due to asbestos related causes.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has dismissed claims by a Labour peer that the current mesothelioma scheme could lead to claimants receiving 100% of their compensation in a couple of years’ time. Currently, sufferers will only receive 75% of the total amount that they are due, but the Labour peer that headed up the recent changes to the scheme has said that once the scheme reaches its peek in 2016, the amount of compensation that victims receive will naturally start to increase. The ABI refutes the claims.
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that is contracted when a person comes into regular contact with certain types of asbestos. The lining of the organs are adversely affected, and because of the length of time it takes to identify the disease, as well as the devastating effects it has on the body, it leads to the death of the sufferer.
Mesothelioma claims have been prevalent for a number of decades. The negative effects of asbestos were first discovered as early as 1940s, but despite powerful evidence, companies continued to use the inexpensive and efficient building material for many decades. Asbestos can still be found in the walls and roofs of certain building today, and a long and complex removal process is required to dispose of it.
Because companies continued to use asbestos even after it had been found to cause cancer in workers, companies have been found guilty of taking unnecessary risks. The fatal nature of the disease means that claimants receive large sums of compensation, often totalling tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. The disease is usually not recognised until several decades after a person has come into contact with asbestos, and a compensation scheme was established by the government for those instances where claimants could not identify or locate the company responsible.
Changes to the mesothelioma claim scheme mean that claimants currently only receive 75% of the total compensation they are awarded. Victim’s groups and legal firms have slammed the changes, but the Labour peer that headed them has defended the decision by saying that full 100% compensation will be available to claimants following a peak in 2016. The ABI has dismissed these suggestions and indicated that sufferers will not receive the full amount that they are due.
Researchers in Sweden believe they have created a new form of diagnostic testing that will help identify the potentially fatal cancer Mesothelioma much earlier than is currently possible. The disease, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, has one of the highest fatality rates of any cancer because it is often not diagnosed until it is too late. Asbestos was a widely used building material throughout the 20th century and the cause of many workplace illnesses or accidents at work.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is most commonly found in patients that have endured long term exposure to asbestos material. The fibres of the material are inhaled and cancer forms within the mesothelium, which is a lining that covers many of the organs in the body. Most commonly, mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs and the chest wall although it may also be discovered in the lining of the abdominal cavity, the heart, and the testes.
Asbestos was widely used throughout the 20th century as a building material because it was inexpensive and easy to work with. Even following concerns and scientific findings that pointed to the potential dangers of the material its use continued. Builders and other contractors that came into regular contact with the fibres from the asbestos are those that are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has become one of the biggest and most significant cases of compensation claims related to illnesses and accidents at work, and cases continue to be brought even today.
Cancer researchers from Sweden tested 565 cases, specifically looking for two of seven biochemical markers. They found the results to not only be highly accurate but to provide a means of identifying mesothelioma in patients sooner and more accurately than using other testing methods. The findings of the study have been published in the PLoS One online journal and they bring hope that the high fatality rate associated with mesothelioma can be reduced.
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that their employees are provided with a safe working environment. Where employer negligence leads to illnesses and accidents at work, it is possible for the victim to submit a claim for compensation. The amount of compensation awarded to victims does vary, but is typically determined by the type and extent of the injuries or illness that the person suffered. The widespread extent of mesothelioma and the significant damage that it causes patients has seen many millions of pounds in compensation paid to victims of this fatal cancer.
Employees and former employees that believe they were exposed to asbestos can submit compensation claims against their former employers. Where the employer has gone out of business or no longer exists, it is still possible to claim compensation through a government scheme set up for this very purpose. If you, or a relative, have suffered from mesothelioma or any other type of illness or accident at work contact StocksLegal.co.uk on 0800 988 9055 to discuss your options.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.
If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.
The scandal surrounding asbestos found in UK schools continues to build up steam as a government advisory committee has said that children are more likely to develop asbestos related diseases over the course of their lifetime than adults. The increased likelihood of developing diseases like mesothelioma stems from the fact that children will typically live longer and therefore have longer to develop symptoms. Mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases can take 40 years or more to fully develop.
In February 2008 an ITN report found that a System Built School contained materials made from asbestos. The same report also highlighted the fact that many other schools across the country could have similar problems and that children were being exposed to the potential dangers of the material on a daily basis while in their classrooms. October 2008 saw a BBC report with similar findings and, since then, a number of cases have been highlighted.
Most recently, a Freedom of Information request made to Warrington Borough Council unearthed the fact that 80% of schools in the Warrington area contained asbestos. Of 90 schools in the region, 72 of them were found to contain the deadly material.
The naturally occurring mineral was used as a cheap and beneficial building material between the 1950s and the year 2000 even following evidence that it could be potentially very dangerous. Companies were stopped from using the material and laws and guidelines put in place for the proper and safe management of the material. However, asbestos is still commonly found in many locations including homes, offices, garages, and schools.
It is argued that asbestos is safe when it is in good condition. It is the spores and the fibre of the material that get into and damage the lungs and lining of the lungs. However, as the condition of schools and other buildings deteriorate it is possible that the asbestos will be disturbed and the dangerous material released into the breathable atmosphere. Not only would this put teachers and staff at risk but children attending the schools could be put in danger of contracting any of a number of potentially deadly asbestos related diseases.
Asbestosis and mesothelioma are among two of the diseases commonly associated with exposure to asbestos spores. These diseases can take 20 to 40 years or more to fully develop and this means that somebody exposed at the age of 50 or 60 would be a lot less likely to suffer from the diseases than somebody exposed at a younger age. The findings of the government committee not only mirror this but take it one step further.
Campaigners have lobbied for asbestos to be removed from all schools but the government continues to deny that this is necessary, stating that schools in a good condition do not pose a risk. They say, in fact, that removal of the asbestos may cause a greater risk than carefully and properly managing the building and its use of asbestos related materials.
During the Queen’s annual speech, she highlighted the introduction of the Mesthelioma Bill. This bill would provide sufferers of Mesothelioma with a means to gain access to compensation for their illness even in cases where the original employer or their insurer is not known. The Bill offers something similar to the scheme run by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, which is considered an insurer of last resort, but critics have come out against the bill saying that claimants should receive the full amount of money that they are owed and not 70% as planned.
Mesothelioma is a potentially deadly disease that is contracted by those that have worked with or come into contact with asbestos. This cheap building material was used extensively in the 20th Century and employers continued to use the material even once the dangers were first brought to light. As a result, many individuals have suffered long and debilitating illness and many have died. In some cases it has proven possible to claim compensation but this isn’t always an option.
Any living victim, or relatives of those that have died, can claim compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases from their former employer or their insurance company. The total amount of compensation that is typically awarded varies greatly dependent on the level of negligence displayed by the organisation, the extent of the individual’s illness and other factors such as their age. Some victims can expect to receive tens of thousands of pounds if they are successful in their claims.
Problems, however, can arise for those victims that are unable to locate their former employer. It can take 20 years or more for the extent of the illness to become known and, in some cases, it may be as long as 40 years. Many construction businesses and related organisations from the 1980s are no longer in business and this makes it very difficult for a claimant to be able to submit a compensation claim case. This is where the government’s proposed Mesothelioma Bill should pick up the slack and enable all victims to enjoy some means of claiming compensation.
Under the terms of the Bill, claimants will be able to claim compensation even if the employer or insurer is not known or no longer in business. The act means that insurance companies that offer employer’s liability insurance will be charged a new tax and this money will be used to pay victims that have nobody else to claim from. However, the current proposals mean that victims would receive only 70% of the compensation they are actually owed.
Critics point to the fact that an average claim totals £65,000 and that losing 30% of this money would mean that a person loses £19,500 which is obviously a significant sum of money. Supports will point to the fact that £45,500 is better the current zero figure that they are able to claim but if a person is judged to be owed £65,000 in compensation then surely they should receive the full £65,000? That is the question that many want answered.
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