What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was widely used in building construction as an effective fire retardant and form of insulation until it was discovered to be dangerous to the lungs. There are three main types: crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos). The use of blue and brown asbestos materials was banned in the UK in 1985, with the use of white asbestos being made illegal in 1999. The Control of Asbestos Regulations imposes a duty on your employer to protect you from exposure, which may involve providing training and protective equipment.
How dangerous is asbestos?
Around 5,000 deaths each year are caused by exposure to asbestos at work in the UK. Buildings which were built up until the ban in 1999 may contain asbestos, so any demolition, construction or alteration work undertaken on these buildings carries a risk of exposure. However, the mere presence of asbestos does not necessarily pose a danger; only when it’s disturbed, causing asbestos fibres to be released into the air, does it present a threat to health. Exposure to asbestos fibres can result in areas of scar tissue around the lungs known as pleural plaques. Although pleural plaques, which generally show up around 20 to 30 years after exposure, are not dangerous in themselves, they often cause concern as they indicate significant exposure to asbestos. More serious conditions which can result from exposure include mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Specialist asbestosis lawyers
The industrial disease team at CH Legal can help employees who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace and would like to make a claim for compensation – even if the exposure happened many years ago with a previous employer. To find out if you are eligible for asbestos compensation, get in touch with Julie Smith or call 0845 4786 354.