The House of Lords ruling on the Edwin Matthews case is due for publication as we write this newsletter. The case has become a celebrated one because Eddie, a mesothelioma sufferer who has worked for several asbestos manufacturers in the past years, won £155,000 in a court case in 2000. So far, he has been unable to collect the sum because of appeals by the defendants. The arguments centre around the recently introduced 'fatal fibre' argument where the London courts have agreed that claimants need to prove which of several employers subjected them to the killer asbestos fibre that caused the disease.
The case raises many issues about asbestos and its management. Industry journals are filling their pages with examples and opinions of how the government is under or over reacting. The EU has voted to cut the exposure limit by 50% and to require member states to draw up a national registry of public, industrial and commercial buildings and sites containing asbestos. To industry watchers everywhere, none of this is a surprise. To industry though, it is going to be expensive. In the past month we have read separate estimates rising from £4b to £80b. But will lives be saved? Most commentators appear hard to convince that they will.
The challenge is certainly daunting. Professor Julian Peto of the Institute of Cancer Research and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has predicted a European epidemic in mesothelioma and expects the epidemic to peak around 2020 with 10,000 deaths per year in the UK and then decline. However, mesothelioma deaths (in Western Europe) will total about 250,000 by 2034.
Meanwhile, our own HSE are working away at the new regulations due to be signed in August this year with a new ACoP to follow in September. The emphasis on the new regulations is one of managing risk. If you own, occupy, manage or have responsibilities for premises which may contain asbestos, you will either have;
And by that they certainly don't mean "I’ll call in the asbestos surveyor and he can sort it out".
Our new product is nearly with us and will give users the choice of Microsoft's SQL or Access databases. Our next Newsletter should have the details of how and when you can see the product for yourself. We will keep you posted on this; if you need information in the meantime, please visit our web site or call us.
The Asbestos ToolKit CS™ product will be on display at the Interbuild Exhibition 9-13 June 2002 at the NEC on our partner's, Geo Instruments, stand 4F173. If you are planning to be there, please book a demonstration with us in advance as currently we are not in the exhibition listings. We will let you know how to apply for free tickets to the show.
Our marketing partners Pcubed and ourselves are ready to present you with our integrated project management and software package for managing asbestos. The Fast Facts datasheet is available on our web site if you would like some more details, or simply call us.
Our new products (above) will be supported by our new asbestos knowledge base which will soon be available on a subscription basis on our web site. We are starting this as a trial to see what the market demand is, so if you are interested please sign up now for CDMUK.com it will only cost you £85 per year for individuals. For our ToolKit customers, the CDMUK.com site is currently free. Again if you need more information on this please sign up for CDMUK.com – and the initial sign up is entirely free to anyone – make your own review of the site and support us in our endeavors by taking out an individual subscription. We plan to put the asbestos knowledge base on CDMUK.com by the end of May 2002.
The recent seminar held in Milton Keynes was a great success, with speakers on CDM and Asbestos, including the HSE. Customers, Seeboard Power Networks Division and Transport for London (Street Management Division) made significant contributions talking about the management of change in their own organisations and how we can all learn lessons from this. Good, able project management is the key to many of the issues addressed. You may download the presentation material from our web site if you wish to.
Please note that our next seminar is booked for Thursday 3rd October 2002 at a very interesting location in the Milton Keynes area. Currently ‘under wraps’, this will be a very special occasion for us and will major on our new product and our new partners. Please make a note of the date in your diary now and watch out for details to be released later in the year.
We are continuing our series of open training sessions for CDM ToolKit™ users at our Leighton Buzzard headquarters. Our next session is on Tuesday 21st May 2002 at 2.30 – 4.30pm. Please contact us if you are interested in attending.