Workers’ Memorial Day is on 28th April every year and is a worldwide day of remembrance to think about those who have died at work.
With today’s health and safety requirements and modern technology, it is shocking to think people still die because of their work. Unfortunately, it is sad fact that people are still being seriously injured or killed at work, perhaps due to faulty equipment or procedures not being followed.
However, work related deaths caused today are not only due to recent health and safety failures but are also caused by historical failings by employers. Asbestos exposure is an example of historical negligence by employers, although the devastating effects are only being seen today.
Our specialist Asbestos Team have particular reason to reflect on Workers’ Memorial Day as they see first-hand every day the tragic effects historical bad working practices have had on workers.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer that usually develops in the lining of the lungs but can also affect the lining of the abdomen and the lining of the heart. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition, although there are some treatment options available which are intended to provide a better quality of life and/or prolong life expectancy.
One of the unique things about mesothelioma is that the period between exposure to asbestos and first symptoms of the condition is very long and typically ranges from 10 to 60+ years. Our Asbestos Team lawyers are therefore assisting and supporting mesothelioma sufferers who only now are finding out how their work many decades ago has caused them serious health problems.
For many years there have been approximately 2,500 people every year newly diagnosed with mesothelioma in Great Britain. The majority of mesothelioma sufferers will have contracted the condition as a result of their previous employment. It is absolutely horrific to think that in the last ten years alone, about 25,000 people have suffered from mesothelioma and nearly all of those people contracted the condition at work. Workers’ Memorial Day is therefore a very important day for our Asbestos Team, as they think about and recall the families they have helped over many decades.
Asbestos in the UK
Blue, white and brown asbestos was used widely in the UK across many industries for a number of decades. In particular, asbestos materials such as lagging and sheeting were extensively used by tradesmen during the 1960s and 1970s.
Many buildings today still have asbestos materials present from when it was fitted all those years ago. This is a concern as the material will become damaged over time, the fibres can then escape into the atmosphere and be breathed in by today’s workers. Of further concern is that far too many employers are still not managing the asbestos in their workplace and thereby are exposing their workers to asbestos fibres. This is completely unnecessary and can be fully prevented.
One of the themes of Workers’ Memorial Day 2021 is “Health and safety is a fundamental workers’ right”. This includes ensuring that today’s workers are not breathing in asbestos dust at work and potentially becoming those victims we will remember on Workers’ Memorial Day in future years.
“Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living”
Over the years, the chant “remember the dead and fight for the living” has been used during Workers’ Memorial Day. Not only is 28th April each year about remembering those who have already been killed because of their work but it is also about trying to prevent the same mistakes happening to current workers.
Unfortunately, for those who were exposed to asbestos many years ago at work, nothing can be done to take back that exposure. Those workers now have to experience the worry of waiting to see if they are one of the 2,500 people each year who will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Although the exposure to asbestos cannot be taken back, the fight for the innocent victims who do develop mesothelioma must continue and we always play our part in the “fight for the living”. As a Firm, Hodge Jones & Allen will continue to raise awareness about mesothelioma, continue with fundraising to help vital medical research look for a cure and support the charities who do an amazing job every day in helping mesothelioma sufferers and their families.
Our specialist Asbestos Team also “fight for the living” as they battle on behalf of their clients to seek justice and compensation against former employers and their insurance companies. Our dedicated Team understands the emotional rollercoaster a mesothelioma victim and their family will go through after being told of the diagnosis. The Team supports every individual client, not only by leading their legal case but also ensuring appropriate State benefits are secured and linking clients to their local asbestos group who can provide emotional and practical support.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for a mesothelioma sufferer to see the conclusion of their legal claim. When that happens, the compensation claim can continue on behalf of their Estate and dependants. The fight continues as we “remember the dead”.
28th April 2021
Workers’ Memorial Day is a day for everyone to think about those who have been killed as a result of their employment. Our Asbestos Team lawyers will be recalling and thinking about the many clients and families they have assisted – the Day is always a particularly thoughtful one for the Team.
We are here to HELP. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos related disease, we urge you to seek legal advice from us. We will explore every single possible avenue with you and we act on a “no win, no fee” basis with no hidden charges and no deductions for legal fees.
For more information, contact our legal experts on 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.