Asbestos related disease – the health and safety requirements

The irresponsible use of asbestos prior to the millennium and the failure of various governments to impose effective controls on mining and manufacturing of the deadly substance are having serious consequences today. The miners, construction workers and factory worker who came into regular contact with asbestos in the previous century are now suffering latent health effects as a result of the carcinogenic asbestos fibres embedding themselves in the lungs and respiratory tract. Unfortunately these fibres can incapacitate and kill sufferers who contract diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancers and mesothelioma.

Even now that the use of asbestos has been banned following the Control of Asbestos Regulations of 2006, asbestos still causes more occupational deaths each year than any other hazard. The asbestos regulations set out clear health and safety requirements for employers whose workers are exposed to asbestos. These days workers usually only come in to contact with asbestos in demolition work, or maintenance on houses built prior to 2000 but they still require protection from the dangers posed. Employers must take every reasonable action to prevent their workers coming to harm in the workplace and this requires extensive training of the workforce to protect themselves against asbestos related diseases.

In order to prevent another generation of workers suffering terrible illnesses as a result of overexposure to asbestos in 10, 20 or 30 years time, it is crucial that employers begin to take health and safety messages seriously. Those recalcitrant employers who ignore health and safety measures are failing to discharge their legal duty of care and may find themselves facing asbestos related disease compensation claims. If you wish to make such a claim, our specialist work accident lawyers can help.

Having effective regulation in place is not enough – employers must become vigilant in exacting high health and safety standards, otherwise asbestos related diseases will continue to blight the UK construction industry.

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