Sheffield asbestos compensation bill over £700k

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MORE than £700,000 has been paid out in compensation to former Sheffield Council employees exposed to asbestos in the past two years.

The deadly substance was the cause of the highest number of cases settled in employers’ liability claims against the authority between 2010 and April this year.

The majority of the exposure is reported to have taken place in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, when asbestos was still widely used in the UK.

But the most recent incident of a council employee working with it was in 1991.

Of the seven cases settled during the two-years, the highest amount paid to one individual was £235,470.

Sheffield Council said although it settled, it was not responsible for all the exposure and would try to re-coup some of the money from some employers.

Laraine Manley, executive director of resources for Sheffield Council, said: “The majority of claims payments for asbestos-related illness relate to periods of exposure which took place in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Much more is known now about the risks posed by asbestos than was known then and the health and safety management of asbestos has improved significantly.“The council takes its legal responsibilities for the health and safety of employees, contractors and the public very seriously and has management arrangements in place to identify, reduce and control risks.

“We involve our workforce and trade union safety representatives closely.”

The council is trying to recover £87,000 of the asbestos compensation from other companies. It holds insurance reserves for future compensation payments so that these liabilities do not directly affect its annual budget.”