Asbestos: Don’t keep it in the family

2nd September 2014

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A guest commentary from our friends at Carrs Solicitors – click on the link below the article if you are affected by any of the points raised or wish to find out more about their services

Asbestos exposure is more often than not associated with those working in industrial environments. It is not uncommon for construction work to unearth the hazardous material, which was frequently used in the past as it provided a versatile and economic solution.  The fire-retardant characteristics of the material, alongside its exceptional insulating properties, made it perfect for building work.

Despite such accolades, the inhalation of the material is associated with a range of serious diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. The dangers posed to those working with the substance led to its complete UK ban in 1999.

While it is fair to say the majority of those exposed do work in the construction industry, there is a lack of awareness associated with the risks posed to their friends and family. As anyone who has undertaken a spot of spring cleaning will know, dust settles wherever it can and the same can be said of Asbestos. While fibres may not necessarily be breathed in, they may be carried on clothes, bags, coats or even exposed skin. The unwitting carrier may transport them to an entirely new destination, where those in residence are unlikely to be wearing the personal equipment needed to protect them.

In the past, it was common for work clothing to be taken home to be washed, posing a risk of contamination to anyone in close proximity. Wives would shake out their husband’s overalls, exposing themselves to the deadly fibres, subsequently developing asbestos-related diseases.

Cases for asbestos exposure have been fought and won on this basis. Where exposure has caused a disease which has significantly reduced the quality or duration of life, regardless of whether or not they were employed directly by them, those employers who neglected to inform their workers of the dangers posed can be pursued for compensation.

Thanks to strict rules and regulations, those working around, or removing asbestos are governed by comprehensive guidelines to protect everyone involved. For anyone who does come across any substance that looks remotely like asbestos, don’t investigate further and risk exposure, call the professionals.

Author: Linda Williams works for Carrs Solicitors, a Law Firm who help the victims of work-related accidents claim the compensation they deserve.