Asbestos Campaigners Recognised With Awards

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) logo Two supporters of a campaign to raise awareness of the risks of asbestos exposure – and ultimately save lives – have been given an award by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to recognise their dedication.

Mavis Nye and Linda Reinstein have been presented with President’s Distinguished Service Awards (PDSAs) having worked closely with IOSH since it launched the asbestos phase of its No Time to Lose (NTTL) campaign in April 2018.

Both women have been personally affected by the incurable asbestos‑related cancer mesothelioma, with Mavis suffering with it herself and Linda having lost her husband Alan to it.

Driven by their personal experiences and a desire to ensure others don’t suffer, they have both set up their own organisations which raise awareness of the dangers and support those who have been affected. And they have taken part in a number of IOSH events and helped to share resources developed as part of the NTTL campaign.

Covid‑19 restrictions meant the awards couldn’t be presented in‑person. Instead, Mavis and Linda were informed on a video conference which included IOSH President Jimmy Quinn and Chief Executive Bev Messinger.

Jimmy said: “Mavis and Linda are absolutely determined to ensure other people don’t suffer the same as they have. They are truly inspirational people who have devoted huge amounts of time to protecting people, raising awareness, campaigning and supporting those who have been exposed.

“For those reasons, I consider them both more than worthy recipients of the PDSA and I am delighted to have been able to inform them of this.”

Mavis, who lives in Kent in the UK, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009. She contracted the disease following exposure to asbestos dust while washing her husband Ray’s clothes when he worked as an apprentice at the Chatham dockyard in Kent in the 1950s.

After her diagnosis, she went on to set up the Mavis Nye Foundation to inspire and support other mesothelioma sufferers. One of its key objectives is clinical research for the treatment of mesothelioma and other asbestos‑related diseases.

After receiving the PDSA, she said: “It is such a huge honour as I have followed and then become an advocate of IOSH. Since then, I have been to many conferences and Zoom meets around the country.”

Linda, who lives in California, USA, lost her husband Alan after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003. She co‑founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in 2004 to support those affected by asbestos exposure and call for more to be done to protect people from exposure. She also launched Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which is held at the start of April every year.

She said: “I am truly honoured. From a national and international perspective, the numerous prevention campaigns and events have allowed me to work with inspirational people like Mavis Nye and the entire IOSH team. Embracing collaboration, IOSH and ADAO have forged a strong partnership and galvanized an unbreakable bond for today and the future. My award is shared with the entire ADAO community who are truly dedicated and believe that together we can make change happen.”

The No Time to Lose campaign has focused on four carcinogens which workers are exposed to and can cause cancer. They are diesel emissions, silica dust, solar radiation and, most recently, asbestos.

Through the campaign, the Institution has provided free resources and guidance to help businesses and their workers avoid exposure to these carcinogens. More information can be found on the campaign website here.

Photograph of Mavis Nye (left) and Linda Reinstein with their President’s Distinguished Service Awards

Mavis Nye (left) and Linda Reinstein pictured with their President’s Distinguished Service Awards.