Asbestos related diseases and conditions cause thousands of people to suffer injuries and symptoms every year. A lot of people who pursue compensation claims for asbestos related diseases and conditions were exposed to asbestos fibres in the workplace. Today the effects of exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres are well known. I was shocked and angry when John Lewis and Morris and Spotiswood exposed around 15 workers to asbestos fibres in July 2008 when the John Lewis store in Edinburgh was being refurbished.
John Lewis and Morris and Spotiswood were recently fined £20,000 each for their part in the incident. Both companies plead guilty to charges under the Control of Asbestos Regulations and Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
I think my good friend Frank Maguire, Solicitor of The Year and Senior Partner of Thompsons summed the whole episode up well when he said:
“It seems quite incredible that significant companies like John Lewis and Morris and Spottiswood seem to have adopted such a lackadaisical attitude to the risks of asbestos exposure.
“Tradesmen involved in renovation projects are a particularly high risk group because of the danger they might inhale asbestos particles if they disturb it in the course of their work.”
“As soon as asbestos is discovered normal work should cease until the asbestos is rendered safe.”
I hope both companies learn from their mistakes and I hope all of the workers involved suffer no ill effects as a result of the exposure.