The British Safety Council cautiously welcomed the announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) of the creation of a new tariff scheme to compensate future mesothelioma vicitims where the liable employer or employers’ liability insurer cannot be traced.
Neal Stone, Director of Policy and Communications commented; It has been of serious concern to the British Safety Council and its members that an estimated 300 mesothelioma sufferers a year lose out on compensation because of the inability to trace the relevant insurer. HSE reported that an estimated 2,321 deaths attributable to mesothelioma occurred in 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available. We have still to see the peak in mesothelioma cases which is expected around 2016. Up until the DWP and ABI announcement 300 men and women, an estimated one-in-eight of mesothelioma sufferers diagnosed in any given year, go uncompensated. There is still some way to go before the benefits of the new tariff scheme supported by the fund provided by insurers are felt by mesothelioma sufferers. No payments will be made for an estimated two years while the necessary legislation is passed. We, like many other organisations committed to preventing workplace injury and ill health, consider it imperative that government and all political parties find the time needed in a busy timetable to get the legislation enacted speedily.
However, claimants suffering from asbestos-related lung cancer and asbestosis are excluded, and this continues to be a real worry. Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford, an active campaigner on behalf of mesothelioma sufferers, welcomed the announcement; I am delighted that future sufferers of mesothelioma will be able to get the compensation they deserve and hopefully, as a result of these measures, in a time frame that will allow them to financially plan before they sadly pass. The total number of mesothelioma deaths has increased from 153 in 968 to 2321 in 2009. Research undertaken for HSE by Dr Lesley Rushton of Imperial College, the Burden of Cancer Study, provided a report on the magnitude of the current burden of occupational cancer created by particular agents and the scale of the overall burden. An estimated 54 percent of current occupational registrations in men are attributed to work in the construction industry. Exposure to asbestos can give rise to mesothelioma, lung, larynx and stomach cancer. Nearly 95 percent of all mesotheliomas occurring in Great Britain are attributable to occupational exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma has a poor survival rate.