A Milan court has convicted eleven former managers of Italian tyre company, Pirelli, for the asbestos-related deaths of workers.
The eleven managers, including two former CEOs, were Pirelli board members from 1979 and 1989 when 20 workers were exposed to asbestos in the Milan factory. The workers suffered lung diseases and tumours linked to asbestos exposure. The former Pirelli board members were convicted of manslaughter.
The conviction came as a result of relatives of the victims stepping forward, telling Italian news agency, Ansa, “We showed that when you are united, you can win.” Indeed, all too often the victims of asbestos-related diseases like Mesothelioma are unable to pursue their own claim against former employers. Because the symptoms of Mesothelioma can take decades to materialise and become evident for doctors to diagnose, the initial exposure to asbestos may be long forgotten, with the victims likely no longer working for that employer any more. Because of this, many victims do not realise they have the right to claim compensation, or that it will be possible in the instance the company no longer exists or has merged with another company.
More tragic is the number of workers exposed to asbestos who are unaware, with their Mesothelioma left undiagnosed. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that one in three people working in Europe are potentially exposed to asbestos during their working day. WHO’s Regional Director, Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, said, “We cannot afford losing almost 15,000 lives a year in Europe, especially workers, from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. Every death from asbestos-related diseases is avoidable.” Read more on WHO’s report here.
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