£250,000 awarded to members of a union.

Public liability insurance holders have been warned of the risks of working with asbestos after more than £250,000 was awarded to members of a union.

The money was paid out to UNISON members in the east of England who have suffered from asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the union, said that it was “shocking” that so many workers have died because employers failed to take the necessary steps to protect them.

“Too many employers put short-cuts before the safety of their staff and many workers still suffer in silence, losing their physical and mental health before management are forced to take action,” he added.

Keith Anderson, the union’s Suffolk national executive member, said that all asbestos should be removed from schools as it is a hidden danger.

The Health and Safety Executive is currently running a Hidden Danger campaign, warning public liability insurance holders of the dangers of working with asbestos.