WORK SAFETY

THE STORY

Tom worked for an asbestos removal company for several years and whilst working on a job was exposed to asbestos dust. He believed that this occurred as a foreman in the company had cut corners and certain safety procedures when dealing with asbestos had been ignored. This left Tom exposed to white asbestos when a connecting room had not been filtered or tested as safe and therefore left him exposed to potential injury from the dust.

WHAT WE ADVISED

Tom contacted PCaW for advice and said that he was worried that the foreman and directors of the company would ignore his concerns and try to get rid of him for making a fuss. He said that the company had a tendency of treating staff that had been injured in the past badly. As it usually takes a long time before symptoms of exposure to appear, Tom didn’t know whether or not he had been injured. We advised him to seek advice from his GP to ensure there was a record of his medical concerns. We also suggested that Tom wrote to the analyst who had previously expressed shock that the area Tom had been working in had not been safety tested to confirm their telephone conversation as evidence for the future.

We advised Tom that how he chose to raise his concerns depended on what outcome he wanted and to consider the consequences for himself, his colleagues and the company. We explained that he had a number of options on how to take his concerns forward. He could raise his concerns internally with the company; leave the company and tell them he had been exposed to risk whilst taking his concerns to a regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); or he could take advice on his legal options from an employment lawyer. We also suggested that Tom could ask the HSE how they were likely to respond to a concern like this prior to giving them all the details to help him make decision.

WHAT HAPPENED

Tom told us his preferred option was to get another job as he was so disgusted by the way his company had acted. He also thanked us for our advice which he said had been very helpful.