As easy as it can be to imagine that the need for Asbestos Awareness Training is a thing of the past, new stories are continually emerging that demonstrates its contemporary importance to be greater than ever. One such case is that of a former marine engineer from Wardley, Gateshead, who has won a legal bid for compensation after being diagnosed with the aggressive asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. |
The dad-of-three, Colin Thorn's diagnosis with the incurable cancer of the lung lining came in December 2013, and follows a long career at the Ministry of Defence, which has admitted responsibility for the 59-year old being exposed to asbestos while he worked. He was subjected to the fibres as he repaired pipework on various vessels and during cleaning procedures on board nuclear submarines during his 1971-1995 spell with the MoD.
Thorn described himself and his wife, Deborah, as having been "knocked for six" by the diagnosis, particularly as it had resulted from him simply going to work and doing his job. He said that the breathlessness that he now experienced rendered him unable to work and prevented him from going out as much as he used to. He admitted to being "extremely concerned" about what the future held for him and his wife as his condition worsened.
He also expressed extreme anger at not having been given the equipment that would prevent his inhalation of asbestos during his work onboard Royal Navy vessels. He also signified his delight at receiving the settlement from the MoD, stating that he would use it to fund the care that he will require with the deterioration of his condition, and to improve the financial security of his wife.
Not only was Thorn not offered any form of breathing mask or respiratory equipment for his work, he told his lawyers, but there were also no measures in place to prevent asbestos dust spreading. Such words will certainly strike a chord with those who might not have previously realised the continued vital role played by Asbestos Awareness Training in today's organisations.
The news of Thorn's compensation award comes as a nurse has been appointed in the North East to deal specifically with mesothelioma victims. People who have received a diagnosis for the life-threatening respiratory disease in Northumberland and North Tyneside will be able to receive support from Leah Taylor, who will also work with other regional teams to ensure better access to support groups, information and treatments.
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