Fatal accident news

 

HSE reveals workplace fatal injury statistics

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the independent workplace safety regulator which protects employees from harm by enforcing employer accountability for unsafe working environments, has published its annual report, Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2018.

Which sector has the most fatal workplace injuries?

The provisional statistics reveal a slight increase in workplace deaths in 2017/2018 compared to the previous year. 144 workers were fatally injured. The construction industry recorded the largest number of fatal injuries overall - 38 construction workers were killed. The waste and recycling and agricultural sectors had the highest fatal injury rates per 100,000 workers.

Fatal injuries to workers whilst travelling on a public highway or whilst commuting, travelling by sea or air, whilst on duty in the armed forces or through natural causes unrelated to work were excluded from the HSE report as these are regulated by the police and other authorities. Deaths from asbestos-related mesothelioma were also excluded, forming the subject of a separate report.

What are the most common causes of fatal injury in the workplace?

The HSE reported that the most common causes of death, across all industries, were due to:

  • falling from heights
  • being struck by moving vehicles
  • being struck by moving objects
  • being trapped by something collapsing or overturning
  • contact with moving machinery

Other causes included:

  • being injured by an animal
  • slipping, tripping or falling on the same level
  • drowning or asphyxiation
  • contact with electricity
  • exposure to fire

The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of workplace fatal injury in Europe, but at nearly three ‘entirely preventable’ deaths a week, Craig Foyle, President of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), described the number of fatalities as ‘unacceptable’, particularly given the additional numbers of serious injuries not covered by this report and the huge emotional and financial impact on the bereaved families.  

The Health and Safety Executive’s stated mission is to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health in the belief that ‘everyone has the right to come home safe and well from their job’ – a sentiment that Boyes Turner wholeheartedly support.

How can Boyes Turner help?

As specialists in personal injury, acting for individuals who have been seriously disabled in workplace accidents and the bereaved, dependent families of those who have died owing to unsafe workplace environments, we understand the emotional impact and financial implications of losing a beloved family member and major breadwinner. Where a disabling or fatal injury has occurred, we act fast to secure liability judgments or admissions and interim compensation payments to alleviate the financial hardship caused by the accident. In cases of serious injury, we can help our clients access physical and vocational rehabilitation, psychological counselling and specialist equipment, offering our client the best prospect of an early recovery and return to work. Where a return to work is not possible we ensure that our clients’ loss of earnings and pension losses are included in their claim.

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, or a disabling injury in a workplace setting and would like to discuss a potential claim please contact us by email at piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Protecting your head and brain at work

Every year thousands of people suffer a brain injury whilst at work. These brain injuries can range from mild injuries right through to severe brain injuries where people are left in a vegative state.

Statistical data published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also revealed that 137 people died in the workplace during the period of 2016/2017, 20 of which were as a result of being hit by a moving/falling object.

Boyes Turner sadly have dealt with a high number of cases where people have suffered a brain injury at work, or where someone has passed away as a result of a work place accident. 

To try and help workers protect their head and brain at work we have put together the following list of helpful tips:

Hard hats

Hard hats are available for workers that have been specifically designed to protect the head from falling objects.

If your employer has provided you with a hard hat make sure you wear it at all times. Also ensure that you wear your hard hat correctly, this means:

  1. Wearing the chin strap to prevent it from falling off.
  2. Ensuring the hat is adjusted to fit the head comfortably, but firmly.
  3. Wearing it the correct way, i.e. not back to front.

Also, if your hard hat becomes damaged at all, ask your employer for a replacement, do not continue to wear a damaged hard hat as it will not offer the same protection as an un-damaged hard hat.

If your employer does not provide you with a hard hat, but you think you would benefit from one, discuss it with him/her.Your employer can then conduct a risk assessment and if necessary arrange for a hard hat to be provided to you.

And remember, hard hats are not just for construction workers, hard hats can be worn by a number of other professions such as factory workers and miners and now they are available in different styles such as baseball caps like the one pictured below.

The benefit of a baseball cap hard hat is that it may be more suitable for customer facing roles such as the front of house staff at a trade counter in a warehouse where the employee has to face customers, but also take regular trips in to the warehouse where there is a risk of falling objects.

Warning signs

If you are an employer, always post warning signs to warn employees of areas where there is a risk of being struck by falling objects.These areas of risk can easily be identified by a good risk assessment.If in doubt ask a health and safety specialist to advise your business on the risks affecting your employees.

Employers should also provide hard hats for its employees it expects to work in areas where there is a risk of falling objects and post signs reminding employees to wear there hard hats in those areas.

If you are en employee, make yourself aware of areas where falling object signs have been placed and be extra vigilant when walking through those areas, making sure you wear your hard hat all times in those areas.

Safety netting and barriers

If a risk assessment has identified an area where there is a risk of falling objects, install barriers or netting systems to catch falling objects before they land on an employee.

Whilst a hard hat will offer some protection to an employee from a falling object, a safety net or barrier will prevent the employee from being struck in the first place.

When it comes to safety nets and barriers, ensure they are suitable to catch the weight of the item(s) that could fall and that they are fitted by professionals.

Health and safety training

As an employer it is essential to provide suitable health and safety training to employees whose work may cause items to drop on to others, crane drivers for example, and to educate workers who are at risk from falling objects and how to avoid being struck by them.

Thereafter the employees should receive regular refresher training on these risks to ensure that safety is at the forefront of their mind and that they know how to prevent accidents occurring as a result of falling objects.

The employer should also police good health and safety procedures in the workplace by posting signs in the workplace reminding people of their duties and reminding people of their duties if they are caught breaching the site health and safety rules.

Sporting equipment

If you are a semi-professional or professional sportsman then your club may also provide you with essential equipment to protect you from head injuries such as a cricket helmet or a bicycle helmet.

Always ensure you wear this equipment, even during routine practice sessions to avoid the risk of injury.

Protecting yourself

Please also bear in mind there are many professions where the wearing of protective headgear is not a legal requirement and therefore an employer may not provide you with it.An example would be a bicycle courier. The wearing of cycle helmets is not a mandatory requirement and therefore your employer may not provide you with a good bicycle helmet. It is however known that thousands of cyclists suffer head injuries each year as a result of cycling accidents where a cycle helmet was not worn.

If you have a job such as this, speak to your employer to see if a cycle helmet could be provided. If the employer is unwilling to provide one then you may wish to consider investing in one yourself. Many cycle helmets can be purchased for a relatively low price now and the price will be well worth it were you to fall off of your bicycle.

The above list is just a snapshot of ways you could protect yourself from head injuries in the workplace.

If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury as a result of an accident at work please contact us by email piclaims@boyesturner.com

If someone you know has passed away as a result of a head injury please also contact us to see if a claim can be made on behalf of their estate.

Is the Boyes Turner personal injury team right for you?

When someone has suffered a personal injury it is essential that they pick the right solicitor to assist them with their claim.

Carefully selecting the correct solicitor will ensure that you have:

  1. Access to up to date legal advice.
  2. Advice from a large network of specialists that we work with, such as medical experts, barristers, financial and welfare benefit advisors, employment and educational experts, housing and conveyancing specialists, and more.
  3. Access to specialist care and rehabilitation providers to assist you in your recovery journey.
  4. A speedy conclusion of your claim.
  5. Peace of mind that you will receive the compensation you need to secure your future.

No two claims are the same, even if the injuries are similar or if they were injured in the same accident. Thankfully Boyes Turner’s team of dedicated personal injury specialists are able to advise on all types of personal injury claims from minor injuries right through to life changing injuries such as brain injuries, spinal injuries and amputations.

Below we give you a quick introduction to the partners in the team and the specialisms they hold.

Kim Smerdon

Kim Smerdon leads Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team. A specialist in catastrophic injury cases, Kim acts for clients with acquired brain damage, spinal injuries and serious orthopaedic injuries.

Kim has extensive experience of all types of personal injury cases and has acted for clients who have been injured in road traffic accidents, in the workplace, as a result of defective products and criminal injuries.

A keen charity fundraiser, Kim recently completed the 3 Peaks Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours to raise over £35,000 for The Debbie Fund, a charity set up to raise funds for research into cervical cancer.

Kim is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and an accredited senior litigator and brain injury specialist with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). She is an associate member of the Child Brain Injury Trust, and a member of the Brain Injury Social Work Group, Headway and Spinal Injuries Panel Solicitors. She is a Headway Life Member, a trustee of Headway Thames Valley and trustee of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, a charity committed to saving young people’s lives by promoting safer cycling and benefits of using a cycle helmet. 

Claire Roantree

As a partner in Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team, Claire acts for clients with life-changing injuries, such as mild to very severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns, complex orthopaedic and musculoskeletal injury, chronic pain and PTSD. 

Claire works closely with the defendant insurers, using the Rehabilitation Code and securing interim payments to provide her injured clients with the treatment, care, facilities and support that they need to get their rehabilitation underway straight away, without losing valuable recovery time whilst waiting for final settlement at the conclusion of the claim. Working with experts in a variety of medical and therapeutic disciplines, professional case managers and carers, the client’s immediate needs are prioritised – recovery and rehabilitation – whilst the claim is quantified to make maximum provision  for their future needs for ongoing care, support and financial security.

A keen charity supporter and fundraiser she has used her love of running and walking to fundraise for The Children's Trust, Tadworth. She has run events for Headway SW London for whom she was a trustee for six years. She is a trustee for Cycle Smart and supports the charity’s campaign to raise cycling safety awareness and reduce road traffic accidents. 

Claire is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel, APIL (Brain Injury Specialist Interest Group), Headway and ABIL (Acquired Brain Injury across London).

As you can see there is no type of claim that the team cannot handle and together they are confident that they can assist you in achieving the best recovery possible as well as the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you would like to speak to our specialist personal injury team please do not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation advice by email piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Scaffolding and workplace accidents falling, says NASC 2018 Safety Report

The 2018 Safety Report of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has revealed that the number of workplace accidents and serious injuries reported by its members reached an all-time low in 2017.

What were the 2018 Safety Report findings?

NASC members reported no fatalities at all. Out of a total 89 workplace accidents, there were only 17 major injuries – a reduction both in incidents and injuries from the previous year. In particular, falls from heights had reduced by 46% compared to 2016 and no members of the public were injured around NASC members’ scaffolding.

As the trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK, NASC provides HSE approved safety and technical guidance for scaffolding contractors, their workforce and their clients. Established in 1945, NASC’s membership currently extends to over 240 leading contracting firms, scaffolding manufacturers and businesses, representing more than 16,000 scaffolding workers. NASC’s members undergo strict auditing to make sure that they comply with the highest possible standards of safety. In this way, NASC provides the construction industry with an assurance that its members will be trained, behave and work according to its benchmark codes of conduct, practice and safety.

The President of NASC commended the latest report’s findings as a demonstration of what can be achieved in terms of reduction of workplace accidents through strict compliance with NASC’s industry benchmark standards. Since 2012 reported numbers and frequency of accidents amongst NASC members have reduced by over a third. He reiterated, however, that workplace falls on the same level to remain prevalent and can lead to serious injury or death. Health and safety compliance remains the key to the reduction of workplace injuries.

What can Boyes Turner do to help?

Boyes Turner’s serious injury lawyers welcome the positive findings of the NASC’s 2018 Safety Report. As experts in brain injury, spinal injury severe disability, mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease claims, we help clients who have been disabled by accidents in the workplace, in hospitals, and on the roads, or who have lost family members upon whom they were financially dependent to obtain the rehabilitation and financial compensation that they need to rebuild their lives.

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured after a fall from height at work and would like to discuss a claim please contact a member of our specialist personal injury team by email piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Should cohabitees receive bereavement damages

This was a question recently faced by the Court of Appeal after Ms Jakki Smith took the Secretary of State for Justice to Court for breaching her human rights.

Who can claim bereavement damages?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 gives rise to the right to claim bereavement damages. The Act allows the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased to claim damages for their bereavement. Payment is also made to the parents of the deceased where the deceased was a minor. The current payment for bereavement damages is £12,980. At the time that Ms Smith’s partner, John Bulloch, died it was £11,800 and this was the amount she was seeking.

Does a cohabitee get anything?

Unlike the payment for bereavement damages, which a cohabitee is not entitled to claim under the Act, a cohabitee can claim for a financial dependency on the deceased. This claim is possible where the deceased and his partner have been cohabiting for at least 2 years before the death and have been cohabiting as husband and wife.

What was Ms Smith’s case?

Ms Smith argued that by excluding her from those people entitled to claim bereavement damages the Government was breaching her Human Rights. The Court of Appeal agreed with Ms Smith and found that section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 was incompatible with Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Unfortunately, although Ms Smith’s case will set a precedent for other unmarried cohabiting partners to seek bereavement damages, she will not benefit from the decision. This is because although the Secretary of State was acting in a way which was incompatible with Ms Smith’s convention rights, they could not have acted differently due to the provision of the Fatal Accidents Act which does not allow cohabitees to claim bereavement damages.  

How does this affect mesothelioma and asbestos claims?

In giving his judgment Sir Terence Etherton MR commented on the declining “popularity of the institution of marriage and the increase in the number of cohabiting couples”. According to the Office of National Statistics in a report on “Families and Households” in 2015, “cohabiting couples continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK, reaching 3.2 million cohabiting families”.

This decision can be used as a precedent to persuade defendants that bereavement damages should be paid to cohabitees in line with financial dependency claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. 

Bereavement damages frequently form a part of mesothelioma and asbestos claims and therefore this is a decision which will benefit a number of our clients. However, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 has not yet changed to allow a statutory entitlement to bereavement damages for cohabitees and we look forward to seeing a change to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in the near future.
 

Santa's little bikers need safety advice under the tree to go with their new wheels

Children are cycling on our busy roads at a younger and younger age, many from the age of five, according to new research from local child cyclist’s safety charity Cycle-Smart

With the Christmas peak in bike and helmet sales now upon us, the charity - as part of its #FiveSs campaign - is visiting schools across the Thames Valley to increase parent's and children's awareness of the need for properly fitted helmets and safer cycling practice - to mitigate risk of serious injury or death if new bikes and helmets are not accompanied by more effective, simple guidance on head protection and road safety. 

The national research from Cycle-Smart surveyed over 1,700 children in England aged 5-9, and found:

More than one in seven (15%) of 5-6 year olds now cycle on roads where there are cars;

The figure rises to 37% of 7-9 year olds;

Amongst boys in the 7-9 year old  44% were more likely to cycle on the road compared to 23% of girls;

Only 70% even own a helmet, and only 47% wear them every time they use their bike.

The last 6 months of road data (January- June 2017) shows a 24% increase in serious child cycling casualties compared to same 6 months last year.

Boyes Turner is proud to have sponsored a video for Cycle-Smart, released today, which gives simple to follow tips on helmet fitting and cycle safety.   

A snap-survey conducted last month by Cycle-Smart volunteers of 350 children, including 120 in the Reading, Newbury, Slough and wider Berkshire area, has revealed a worrying failure of children to wear properly fitted helmets:

Over 60% of under six-year-olds did not have straps secured properly under the chin or with the Y-shaped straps fitted correctly around the ears;

Over a quarter of under six-year-olds did not have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

For 6-14 year olds, over 40% didn’t have straps positioned and secured correctly, and 18% didn’t have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

Angela Lee, Founder and Chief Executive of Cycle-Smart, says:
"A lifetime of happy, healthy cycling is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their child. But a bike without a well-fitted helmet and the common-sense advice and training necessary to share the road with cars, vans and trucks could lead to unnecessary anguish. We're urging parents, bike shops and those responsible for educating our children to use the roads safely to come together to make sure this Christmas's bike bonanza leaves a safe and happy legacy in the New Year."

Claire Roantree, Trustee of Cycle-Smart and Partner at Boyes Turner LLP, says:
"Thousands of new bikes will be under the tree this Christmas. They're gifts that will create happier, healthier, more independent kids. However, it is an unavoidable fact that some of these bikes will lead to accidents. The risks shouldn't stop kids getting freer and fitter on their bikes. But it would be reckless if a major part of the gift wasn't parents, bike shops and schools coming together to ensure helmets are always well-fitted and advice is provided to the ever-younger kids sharing the roads with cars. We urge all parents of child cyclists to watch the Cycle-Smart video."

8 Top Tips for avoiding holiday accidents!

 Holiday Accidents

It’s holiday season, a time that we are often more relaxed, less vigilant and sometimes feeling a little more adventurous than usual, as we try to make the most of the time away from our usual routine.

Such a relaxed attitude can sometimes lead to accidents. Here are 8 Top Tips to help you to try and avoid holiday drama’s!

  • Make sure that you have adequate Travel Insurance cover – some sports and adventure activities require additional and more expensive insurance cover. Also, if you intend taking part in any sports or adventure activity where you are at risk of injury on holiday ensure that you wear the correct safety equipment and have proper instruction.

Holiday Accidents

  • If you are holidaying in an EU country apply for a European Health Insurance (EHIC) card which will assist in covering any emergency medical costs. They are easily obtainable via the internet or from the Post Office.

Holiday Accidents

  • Check the depth and cleanliness of the water when using the swimming pool. If you swim in the sea, a river or a lake obey any warning signs. Do not swim after drinking alcohol.
  • If a restaurant or café doesn’t look clean it probably isn’t. Holiday illness caused by food poisoning can ruin the rest of your holiday. Make sure that you report any issues at the time and try to find out whether anyone else has been affected.

  • Drink only bottled water to make sure that you aren’t at risk of suffering a holiday illness such as sickness and diarrhoea.

Holiday Accidents

  • To avoid a holiday illness make sure that you have the immunisations or booster shots and any medication, such as malaria tablets, required for the part of the world you are visiting.

Holiday Accidents

  • If you intend to drive abroad make sure you understand the road signs and that you remember to drive on the correct side of the road! If you are unfortunate to be involved in a road traffic accident abroad, make sure that you record names of the parties involved, vehicle registration numbers and insurance details. Call the Police to let them investigate liability and try to obtain any paperwork from them including Police report if possible.
  • If you are hiring a vehicle check it carefully and make sure that you have adequate insurance cover.

There are certain things that are beyond our control and if you suffer an injury on holiday or have a holiday illness contact a solicitor on your return to help you investigate a possible claim. We have a dedicated team who can offer straightforward and clear advice and assistance. Our approach is to work closely with the injured person to get maximum compensation and help recover from injuries sustained.

Croydon Tram Crash

The tram that derailed in Croydon on 9th November resulted in the death of seven people. It is known that the tram was travelling at three and a half times the speed limit when it approached a curve in the track, causing it to derail. In addition to those who died, eight people were taken to hospital with serious or life-changing injuries, including amputated limbs.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the tram, which was carrying 60 people, was travelling at 43.5mph in a 12mph zone. Initial inspection showed the driver did apply the brake after coming out of the tunnel but only enough to reduce his speed from 50mph to 43.5pmh. It was stated in RAIB’s report that there was no evidence of any track defect or obstruction on the track.  The investigation also found no malfunction of the braking system. The driver was subsequently arrested and is on bail on suspicion of manslaughter.

Transport for London (TfL) has offered to pay for the funerals of those who died but came in for criticism after it was revealed the families had not been told about it in person. It is expected there to be significant number of claims by people who were injured, and families of those who died in the accident. However, investigations are currently ongoing and the British Transport Police has appealed for witnesses. Solicitors for some of the families have called for the inquiry to be made public, saying TfL and the tram operator’s parent company First Group should move swiftly to accept blame and offer pay-outs. They have also said, if the insurance companies are proactive, payouts could begin as soon as the cause of the crash has been determined. However, if the insurance companies decide to fight the claims then it could be years before the victims or their families see any money. Depending on the outcome of the investigations, compensation to the victims will be provided by either TfL or First Group.

Tram accidents on such a scale have been rare in Britain, with the last passenger death in a crash having occurred in 1959. But since the crash MPs have called for the RAIB to consider whether safety systems that exist on national rail and tube networks, such as automatic braking, should be implemented for trams or light rail too.

Zarqa Rasab, of specialist personal injury firm Boyes Turner LLP, comments:

“This is an exceptionally tragic incident which could have been easily avoided. As a commuter myself, I do put my safety in the hands of others on a daily basis and rightfully expect to be safe. The driver, along with TfL & First Group owed a duty to take such care of its passengers and to ensure they were safe. It is clear that this duty was breached, leaving a devastating result”.

"We had never heard about Sepsis. Perhaps if we had, we would have spotted the signs..." - Matthew's story

Sepsis is a life threatening condition.  It causes 44,000 death per year in Britain.

The UK Sepsis Trust is committed to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of #Sepsis both with the public, and with medical professionals.  We are supporting The UK Sepsis Trust in the work that they do, and are honoured to have recently been asked to become a corporate partner of the charity.

Who knows how things might have been different for Matthew and his family, if they had been aware of the symptoms of #sepsis…

Failure to diagnose sepsis

In August last year, Matthew Parkes and his wife were in Majorca with their four year old daughter when Matthew fell ill.

Matthew, a 39 year old former competitive swimmer, developed a sore throat the day after arriving in Majorca. By the following day, Matthew had pain all over his body, and his wife took him to a local public hospital.

Matthew was already displaying some of the tell tale signs of sepsis including shortness of breath, chills and a fever. Although with hindsight Matthew should have been given antibiotics to fight the infection, he was sent away with diazepam. Matthew had in fact developed pneumonia, triggered by a streptococcus infection, and it started to invade his lungs.

Matthew’s pain got worse and he developed pain in his stomach, chest and back.  He recently told the Daily Mail about his experience, reporting a common feeling in sepsis survivors, he felt like he was dying. Matthew’s stomach became badly distended and his skin was purple and blotchy.  His breathing remained rapid and he had a high temperature.  These are all typical signs of sepsis.

Delay in sepsis diagnosis

Matthew’s wife was so worried she took him to a nearby private hospital, who immediately identified that Matthew was suffering with sepsis.

Matthew was transferred into intensive care in a hospital in Palma for emergency kidney dialysis.

Matthew was then placed into a medical induced coma, and was unconscious for seven weeks.  During that time he was transferred back to Manchester, and admitted to the Wythenshawe Hospital. When Matthew came round, his wife had to break the news to him that both legs would have to be amputated approximately seven inches below the knee.  Matthew also had to have a further operation to remove nearly all of the fingers and a third of the palm of his left hand.

Both Matthew and Pamela had never heard of sepsis before Matthew was taken ill.  Speaking to the Daily Mail recently they said “..if we’d known then what we know now, perhaps we’d have spotted the signs and asked doctors to check for it”.

Matthew has recently added his voice and his story to that of Melissa Mead, whose one year old son William tragically died from sepsis in 2014.

Asbestos and the Olympian - A wrestlers battle with mesothelioma

The Olympic games in Rio are in full swing and everyone from around the world is enjoying watching World and Olympic records being broken and their home nation Olympians bringing home medals.

What is not known by many is that a famous Olympian unfortunately suffered from pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos related disease which led to his untimely death.

The Olympian was Terry McCann, the American wrestler.

Terry McCann’s wrestling career

Terry was from Chicago, Illinois and had a fantastic wrestling career which included  winning three consecutive AAU National Championships and posting the only undefeated international record of his time, as the only man to go undefeated against the Russians.

Terry McCann flipping his opponent on his way to yet another victory.

Terry was first selected for the 1956 Olympic Team but did not go because he was in school and wanted to complete his education.

Terry then begun to suffer from knee problems and was at risk of not being selected for the 1960 Olympic games in Rome.  The American Olympic Committee however were keen to enlist Terry as they did not want to lose medals to the Russians and Terry was eventually awarded a place on the 1960 American Olympic team.

Terry lost his first match on points but went on to win a succession of matches including against his Russian rival and received a 1960 Olympic Gold Medal for Wrestling.

Terry’s mesothelioma

Terry McCann with his Olympic gold medal

In 2004 Terry begun to suffer symptoms of chest pain and breathlessness.

Terry had a successful career in surfing and also in wrestling coaching.  Both activities kept Terry extremely fit and because of this he initially refused to acknowledge his symptoms and simply dismissed them as being due to age.

Sadly in 2005, Terry was diagnosed as suffering from malignant mesothelioma of the pleura.

Terry was able to recall working in an oil refinery in the late 1950’s for a few weeks whilst training for the Olympic games so he could support his young family.  Terry stated he would come home from work in the evening with fine silvery dust in his hair and clothes which he later found out was asbestos.  Terry had no idea this asbestos dust would cause him to suffer from a terminal disease.

Terry went on to become an outspoken critic of the asbestos industry and CEO’s of the American corporations that mined asbestos, that manufactured asbestos products and that imported or exported asbestos products.

Terry said, “They knew it would kill, but they sold it anyway, and made money. There’s a word for that. Eventually, the bad guys will be tried by the highest court, and they will pay.”

Terry sadly passed away as a result of his mesothelioma in 2006.

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio

Asbestos is now more controlled in most countries, though sadly not in all.  It is hoped that Terry’s recent asbestos related death combined with the Rio Olympic games may cause the asbestos industry to reflect on the dangers of working with asbestos and result in stricter asbestos working guidelines, or perhaps even a complete ban on the use of asbestos, something Boyes Turner would support.

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