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Occupational health and safety
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Geoffrey Tweedale papers

  • GB 249 TWE
  • Collection
  • 1921 - 2000s

Research papers of Geoffrey Tweedale gathered during the course of his research for his book 'Magic mineral to killer dust: Turner & Newall and the asbestos hazard' (2nd edition, 2001: Oxford University Press), which investigated the British company, Turner & Newall, one of the world's leading asbestos manufacturers.

The collection comprises:

  • Copies of more or less complete run of Turner & Newall compensation cases, 1921-1990s (c. 700 files). The copies were made by Tweedale from microfilms of the Turner & Newall company archives made by Chase Manhattan Bank in 1991 as part of a court case initiated in the USA by the Bank against Turner & Newall. Tweedale made a special study of these case files.
  • Series of subject files. The bulk of the contents is copies of correspondence and papers from the Turner & Newall archives. However, the series also contains material from other sources as well as Tweedale’s own notes and correspondence. Most of the material relates to Turner & Newall, but there is also material on other companies eg Johns Manville in the USA, Eternit, and Cape Asbestos as well as material on Canada, South Africa, and Australia. The series also includes biographical information on related people as well as press cuttings collected by Tweedale.
  • A selection of videotapes and DVDs mostly relating to Turner & Newall plus several transcripts of TV/radio programmes, dating back to the 1970s and early 1980s.

Tweedale, Geoffrey, b. 1951, business historian

Clydeside Action on Asbestos: copies of Turner & Newall corporate archive

  • GB 249 TN
  • Collection
  • 1920s - 1990s

Copies of parts of the corporate archive of Turner & Newall, one of the world's leading asbestos manufacturers. The records copied date back to the 1920s. The copies were owned by Clydeside Action on Asbestos and used as a research resource.

These copies are significant since the original Turner & Newall archives are not accessible. The only time that the company granted access to its archives was during the legal proceedings initiated by Chase Manhattan Bank against Turner & Newall in 1987 when these copies were made. The copies of the archives remain the only primary evidence of Turner & Newall's activities.

Contents include board minutes and correspondence and papers relating to: the health risks of asbestos; asbestos industry regulations; the company's medical arrangements; employees with asbestos-related disease; the company's relations with the media; the company's submissions to parliamentary select committees; Chase Manhattan Bank vs. Turner & Newall trial documents; company histories.

Clydeside Action on Asbestos

Men's work in heavy industries in Glasgow oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 8
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 2005

Conversations between Neil Rafeek and two men who spent their working lives as laggers in the Clydeside heavy industries. Topics covered include childhood and growing up in Glasgow, the Clydebank blitz, housing, domestic life, social life, football, sectarianism, gang culture, National Service, working conditions, trade unions, health and safety, asbestos.

Includes notes and draft publications relating to a project about the working culture and notions of masculinity in Clydeside heavy industries.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Chemical workers oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 7
  • Collection
  • Original recordings and transcripts 2004-2005

Eight interviews conducted by David Walker in pursuit of his doctoral research on ‘Occupational health and safety in the British chemical industry, 1914-1974’ (PhD thesis, University of Strathclyde, 2007: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/6429).

The oral history project was designed to capture the human experience of working within the British chemical industry. The desired outcome was to find respondents with a range of job descriptions that had worked in different types of plant. Although comparatively small, the cohort interviewed represents a good coverage of the industry in that the plastic, chromate, explosive and fertiliser sectors are all represented.

In total, nine respondents were interviewed with one, Richard Fitzpatrick, being interviewed twice (Mr Fitzpatrick was 87 years old at the time and grew visibly tired during the first interview). Three respondents from Cheshire (who were related to one another) were interviewed as a group. Normally interviews were conducted on a one-to-one basis in the homes of the respondents although wives and other family members were also present in all cases, with the exception of one of the anonymous respondents from Dumfries who was alone.

The average age of those interviewed was 71, with birth dates ranging from 1917 to 1945. The employment histories of the respondents ranged from the late 1930s to the late 1970s.

All those interviewed were asked standard questions at the outset such as the respondent’s name, date of birth, where they were born, if they had brothers or sisters, if they had children, at what age did they leave school and what was their first job. Thereafter, in a relatively unstructured manner questions were asked of the respondents about the experiences they had in connection with the chemical industry.

With the exception of one former manager of a chemical plant all the respondents had worked as process workers or were related to family members who also worked as process workers. Why no former directors or technologists came forward to participate in this study cannot be explained by reference to the design of the recruitment material. One reason that may explain the general problem in recruiting respondents was made by two former process workers from Dumfries who admitted that their former colleagues had seen the recruitment article published in the local press but had refused to make contact because they were fearful that Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) would stop their pension if they talked to an outsider. Although ICI would not take such a step it is nonetheless interesting that former employees of the firm offered this as the reason for not sharing their memories.

Walker, David, b. 1956, historian

Interview with Phyllis Craig, Chair of Clydeside Action on Asbestos

  • GB 249 SOHC 35
  • File
  • 28 January 2018

Recording of Arthur McIvor in conversation with Phyllis Craig, Chair of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, 28 January 2018. Phyllis Craig describes her work at the charity where she started on 2 October 1995.

[00:00] Introductions.
[00:25] Summarises main life events.
[01:14] Describes voluntary work at Castlemilk law centre and the poverty she observed.
[01:43] Describes starting work at Clydeside Action on Asbestos.
[02.44] Discusses the occupations of her parents and her relationship with them.
[05:10] Describes roles at Clydeside Action on Asbestos.
[06:04] Tells story of a particular appeal and the treatment of a client.
[07:28] Returns to description of activity of Clydeside Action on Asbestos.
[07:53] Mentions the case of ‘Fairchild, Matthew and Fox’ and describes other asbestosis cases.
[10:58] Describes the wide variety of other Clydeside Action on Asbestos activities, such as fundraising and communications.
[11:56] Describes how the job has changed over the years.
[13:17] Describes how the resources and funding have improved since the early years of the charity.
[13:54] Describes the psychological effects of a mesothelioma diagnosis.
[16:12] Describes the experiences of those living with mesothelioma.
[18:59] Describes the physical and mental effects of mesothelioma.
[20:20] Talks about the limitations of new government disability legislation and its relation to the mental health of sufferers.
[22:15] Mentions the economic schemes that were available to help sufferers and remarks upon the likely negative effects of recent government legislation.
[23:06] Describes the rise of diagnoses of mesothelioma in women, explores the reasons, and talks about the different experiences of the disease for men and women.
[25:45] Describes the difficulties of competing with other charities for funding for example charities that work with victims of post-traumatic stress.
[27:07] Tells the story of a particular mesothelioma case pertaining to a male client who was a Glasgow joiner.
[30:11] Tells the story of two mesothelioma cases pertaining to women, one client from Falkirk who struggled to get a diagnosis and a former GP who works in the charity office. Phyllis comments on the different reactions of men and women to a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
[32:46] States that mesothelioma is still incurable and describes the general life expectancy of sufferers.
[34:47] Describes the dramatic changes in medical interest and treatments for mesothelioma since 1995. Also discusses surgery and the importance of palliative care.
[38:55] Describes the differences between Scotland and England in terms of legislation and compensation. Also describes the tenacity required to campaign for justice.
[42:30] Describes the reasons why legislative situation has evolved further, to the benefit of victims, in Scotland than in England.
[46:11] Discusses how the establishment of the Scottish Parliament has benefited the experience of victims in Scotland and how Scotland’s asbestos legislation compares globally.
[47:43] Describes the current campaigns and activity of Clydeside Action on Asbestos.
[50:59] Closing remarks upon the importance of the recognition of other asbestos related lung cancers in addition to mesothelioma, in terms of legislation and support.
[52:53] Describes inaccuracies in predictions for when the peak of asbestos-related deaths will be seen.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Scottish Oral History Centre Archive

  • GB 249 SOHC
  • Collection
  • c. 1981 - present

The Scottish Oral History Centre Archive is an extensive collection of oral history recordings focussing on the history of work, occupational health and the social impact of de-industrialisation. Most of the recordings originate from projects carried out by Scottish Oral History Centre staff and students but there are also large collections of interviews originating from other organisations, for example Glasgow Museums and the Scottish Working People’s History Trust.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

University of Strathclyde Safety Committee minutes

  • GB 249 OS/5/31/1
  • Series
  • 1967 - 1983

Minutes of meetings of the Safety Committee at the University of Strathclyde.

University of Strathclyde | Statutory Advisory Committee on Safety and Occupational Health

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association (William Ashton Tait) Archives

  • GB 249 OEDA
  • Collection
  • 1969-2009
  • early correspondence and papers relating to Nancy Tait’s fact-finding mission regarding asbestos
  • minutes of meetings of the SPAID/OEDA Trustees, annual reports, strategic plans
  • registers and other finding aids for the extensive OEDA case file series (OEDA CF); see link below
  • information resources on employers and insurers and other materials for supporting compensation claims
  • some case correspondence, medical appeals correspondence, correspondence with the medical appeal administration, and with the social security commissioner
  • documentation of the different types of information services provided by SPAID / OEDA, among them series relating to occupational and environmental health enquiries; SPAID / OEDA publications and display boards; responses to requests for information from solicitors; and responses to requests for information from the media
  • records relating to SPAID/OEDA's research into asbestos related diseases, mortality statistics, latency periods; also testimony before commissions, consultancy reports
  • SPAID/OEDA's extensive advocacy work over four decades
  • interactions with victims support groups, unions, fellow activists, occupational health experts, historians, solicitors and legal scholars
  • conferences and meetings to which Nancy Tait and her organisation contributed or which she attended
  • information files compiled on specific topics
  • series of correspondence and telephone memoranda
  • SPAID/OEDA accounts; also fundraising activities including grant applications
  • some documentation of the creation and running of the Electron Microscope Research Unit
  • instructions and manuals relating to office procedures and information management in the organisation
  • reference library (OEDA/K) including the organisation's collection of scientific papers, deposits and judgements, statutory instruments, DSS claims forms 1969-2007, clusters of press coverage, etc

Further,

  • OEDA collection of printed material; see link below
  • ten series of case files (OEDA CF, see link below)
  • OEDA's copies of the Chase Manhattan Turner & Newall papers (OEDA CM, see link below)
  • several standalone collections accepted to the OEDA archive during the 1990s, including the research papers of M J Sanders, records of Cancer Prevention Society, Glasgow, and the papers documenting refrigeration management worker W H Knight's compensation claim; see links below

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association

W H Knight papers

  • GB 249 KNIG
  • Collection
  • 1962-1994

Correspondence and papers relating to W H Knight’s claims arising from working conditions at Land Rover UK Ltd 1962-1981. Includes a blueprint and detailed colour photographs (with explanatory inscriptions) of test house 'R' at Land Rover UK Ltd, Meteor Works, Solihull (also drawings of apparatus), as well as colour photographs of typical protective equipment. Also extensive verbal descriptions of working conditions, fellow workers' statements in support, documentation of background research into health effects of fluorocarbons, legal correspondence (including occupational health and safety report, 1989), correspondence with Nancy Tait, and extensive press coverage on occupational and environmental health scares c.1980-1994. Further, a little personal correspondence and correspondence re Knight's service during World War II.

The material was in considerable disarray, with most of it loose and in no particular order, and inscribed folders that were empty. Where available, present arrangement of the archive is based on an extrapolation of how extant (empty) containers were labelled.

  • correspondence with SPAID, in particular Nancy Tait, 1983-1994
  • legal correspondence: with Robin Thompson & Partners, solicitors, Birmingham, 1982-1983; with Field Fisher Waterhouse, 1983-1989; with Nick Wikeley, 1985-1988
  • correspondence re social security 1981-1988
  • correspondence with Land Rover Ltd, 1983, and papers re work and working conditions (including 3 diaries 1965-1969), 1965-c.1981
  • visualisations of refrigeration arrangements at Land Rover Ltd
  • correspondence with unions, 1982-1986; with the media, 1982-1987; with MPs, 1983-1988
  • medical correspondence, 1981-1988, including an exchange with occupational health experts at Aston University 1981-1982
  • research into the health impact of fluorocarbons
  • press cuttings, c.1983-1991
    Also correspondence re service during World War II, 1982-1984, and some personal letters, 1985-1987.

Books found with the material have been transferred to the OEDA Library and can be identified through the library catalogue.

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association

Laurie Flynn papers on the asbestos industry

  • GB 249 FLYNN
  • Collection
  • 1893 - 2005

Laurie Flynn's papers on the asbestos industry span the period 1893-2005 and contain information primarily on the occupational health hazards posed by asbestos. This interest is centred on the activities of Cape Asbestos Company Ltd (and all corresponding names including shell entities) as well as the company's overseas subsidiaries.

There are 4 main series:

  • mining in South Africa, 1938-2005
  • asbestos litigation in North America, 1934-2005
  • asbestos in the UK, 1953-2005
  • Cape Asbestos corporate papers, 1893-2000

The focus of the collection is on employer negligence concerning health and safety, as argued in compensation lawsuits brought against the company and its subsidiaries.

Access to the wealth of business and legal papers brought to light primarily through lawsuits led Flynn to question whether multinational enterprises are as progressive as some commentators (notably business historians) have made out. The depositions, affidavits and court exhibits contained in this collection illuminate the role played by corporations and their representatives (in particular company medics and corporate lawyers) in suppressing scientific evidence concerning the risks of asbestos exposure. The Flynn papers also illustrate the lengths to which Cape Asbestos’ legal advisers went to create complex and confusing company structures in order to distance the parent company from liability ("corporate veil").

The collection includes some of Flynn’s notebooks and other background research materials for journalistic projects (among them extensive interviews with South African miners and Glasgow laggers), scripts and transcripts for documentaries, press cuttings, scientific literature, and correspondence with health and safety experts, medical specialists, environmental consultants, tort lawyers and asbestos ban campaigners.

In addition to documenting Flynn’s sustained interest in the workings of multinational asbestos enterprise, the collection also includes a little material relating to gold and diamond mining and the medical impact of atomic testing.

Flynn, Vincent Laurie Macpherson, investigative journalist

Alan Dalton papers

  • GB 249 DAL
  • Collection
  • 1899 - 2003

Correspondence and papers from most of Dalton's career. The collection includes:

  • papers on Dalton's career and the libel cases brought against him
  • correspondence and papers originating from Dalton's roles at the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, the Transport and General Workers' Union, the Environment Agency and others
  • correspondence with fellow activists, occupational health experts, academics, doctors, solicitors, politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, asbestos victim support groups and others
  • subject files on environmental and occupational health issues, particularly asbestos
  • publications by Dalton and letters to the press
  • consultancy and expert witness work
  • notes and papers from conferences and meetings
  • correspondence and papers relating to Dalton's involvement in the production of television and radio programmes on asbestos, together with a series of video recordings and transcripts of documentaries and other programmes collected by Dalton on asbestos and other environmental and occupational health and safety topics.
  • press cuttings on asbestos and other environmental and occupational health issues
  • Dalton's library of books, academic papers, reports and other publications on asbestos and other environmental and occupational health issues

Dalton, Alan James Patrick, 1946-2003, safety and environmental campaigner