BBC Investigation into M&S Asbestos "Shocking - but not Surprising"

     BBC Investigation into M&S Asbestos "Shocking - but not Surprising"

  PR Newswire

  LONDON, February 22, 2013

LONDON, February 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

A BBC investigationhas claimed that high street giant Marks & Spencer was
warned that its customers and staff may have been put at risk from asbestos
contamination more than 10 years before being fined £1m for breaching asbestos
removal rules.

In the "Inside Out" programme,screenedon Monday 11 February, one contractor
told a BBC journalist that he had raised the alarm over the way asbestos was
being removed during a London store refurbishment in 1998, more than a decade
before the company was fined £1m over work carried out at its Reading store.

Bridget Collier, head of the Industrial disease department at Fentons Personal
Injury Solicitors LLP, said the report, whilst shocking, is not entirely
surprising.

"We have heard several reports of maintenance workers carrying out refits and
refurbishments for retailers - not just M&S - and having their warnings about
asbestos being completely ignored," said Bridget, a partner with the firm.

"While the majority of any exposure risk during such refurbishments is borne
by those carrying out the work, it is obviously of great concern if asbestos
is being disturbed or broken up to cause fibres to circulate in areas where
workers and even customers might be exposed.

"We have represented a number of clients who have developed asbestos-related
diseases such as mesothelioma and other lung conditions, who have never worked
in the industry sectors where one might expect them to have been exposed to
asbestos," she said. "In these instances, we have later found that they were
exposed whilst their work premises - be it a shop floor, warehouse or even a
hospital wing - were undergoing major renovations and the correct, safe
asbestos-handling procedures were simply not being followed.

"Furthermore, it appears from the evidence we have gathered in a number of our
cases that this lackadaisical approach to the rules has been endemic for many,
many years," said Bridget. "Workers regularly tell us that they were not
provided with proper safety equipment and that their managers, bosses or
employers would constantly and consistently ignore any issues they raised
about the safe removal and disposal of asbestos in order to ensure the job was
finished as quickly as possible."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims
of industrial diseases including asbestos-related illnesses such as
mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact
Fentons on 0800-0191-297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire

Contact: Contact: Andy Dickens, PR & communications manager,
+44(0)161-238-6504, andy.dickens@fentons.co.uk.