The BBC has paid £1.64m in damages over the deaths of 11 former staff who died from cancer after working in corporation buildings riddled with asbestos.

It has made the payouts to families of make-up artists, engineers, riggers, set builders, studio managers and television producers. All 11 died of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos.

bbcThey worked at no fewer than 18 BBC locations, including Broadcasting House in central London, Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham and Television Centre in White City, west London, its headquarters for decades until 2013. The list also includes Bush House, the former base of BBC World Service radio, and Alexandra Palace, both in the capital.

Some of the 11 also worked at Dickenson Road Studios in Manchester and BBC Scotland’s former headquarters at Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow’s West End as well as on Bressay, in the Shetland Islands, and on Ascension Island, at the World Service’s Atlantic Relay Station.

“The payouts over these deaths show that asbestos remains a major menace,” said Liz Darlison, the chief executive of Mesothelioma UK, who is also a part-time NHS nurse. “Many people don’t realise that 95% of our hospitals and 85% of our schools still contain some asbestos and that it is a carcinogenic substance that causes mesothelioma. It’s a dreadful disease. Over half of people die within a year of being diagnosed – an appalling statistic,” Darlison added.

Dangers of Disturbed Asbestos

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed, fibres are released into the air which when inhaled can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma. This is why it is so important to make sure asbestos is managed correctly.

So who is Responsible for Managing Asbestos?

Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 includes an explicit duty for those in control of premises to identify and manage any asbestos present. This responsibility falls to the duty holder, which in many cases is the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the premises.

The dutyholder is required to assess and manage the risks from asbestos to employees and others, and must ensure that anyone who is likely to work on, or disturb asbestos is provided with information about its location and condition.

To do this, the Regulations require a written Asbestos Management Plan setting out what steps are to be taken to manage any Asbestos Containing Materials present in the building. This is usually done by a person competent in carrying out an asbestos survey.

How we can help

Bradley Environmental is one of the leading Asbestos Consultants in the UK offering a whole range of Asbestos Risk Management services. We advise our clients on the most efficient, operationally and economically advantageous way to manage asbestos, without compromising on safety issues. Find out more about how we can help here.  


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