The dangers of disturbing asbestos
- AuthorKate Sweeney
Up until the 1970s, asbestos was used in great amounts in the building industry after which time it began to decline, until its eventual ban in 2000.
Many buildings still have asbestos in them and when the material is disturbed or damaged, fibres are released which, if breathed in, can cause diseases of a serious and often fatal nature.
Anyone working in the construction or demolition industry, or trades people such as plumbers and electricians, are likely to come into contact with asbestos at some point. And it’s when it’s disturbed that problems start to arise.
A refurbishment firm in the Midlands was recently fined after its workers – and members of the public – were exposed to asbestos during the conversion of a high street premises. Materials containing the hazardous fibres were removed and placed in a skip on the public highway.
Nottingham City Council was recently fined £30,000 after some 150 people suffered exposure to asbestos at one of its depots. The asbestos removal contractor that handled an original decontamination project at the depot provided the council with a management plan showing them how to deal with the materials that remained once their contract was complete. However, the council failed to follow the plan.
Asbestos related diseases
In both cases, it could be some time before anyone exposed to the asbestos fibres becomes aware of any effects. Symptoms of asbestos related illnesses, such as mesothilioma, often take several years to show themselves by which time, there is little that can be done to help the sufferer. Other illnesses related to asbestos exposure include lung cancer and asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs.
According to the Health & Safety Executive, some 4,000 people die each year in Great Britain from asbestos related diseases – that’s more than are killed in accidents at work. As the single greatest cause of work related deaths, asbestos and the illnesses related to it are the subject of a great number of compensation claims.
If you are under medical supervision for an asbestos related illness, or know someone who has died as a result of exposure to asbestos, talk to one of Stephensons’ specialist asbestos claims lawyers in complete confidence today. Call 01616 966 229.
By personal injury solicitor, Kate Sweeney