Asbestos related disease – contributing factors

It took a long time to wake up to the dangers posed by asbestos in the UK, with the use of asbestos not being banned fully until 1999. As a result there are now far fewer ways to contract asbestos-related diseases than there were in the 20th century, asbestos was readily mined, manufactured and used in building materials. In those times workers were put at risk due to:

• Mining and other operations which released dust containing carcinogenic asbestos fibres

• The use of asbestos in manufacturing composite materials like textiles

• The use of these composite materials in construction or maintenance work

The size and shape of asbestos fibres means that they cannot be easily expelled by the lungs and as a result of workers breathing in many of these fibres they would suffer severe health problems. The same danger is present today.

Due the obsession with the apparent utility of asbestos in the construction industry and the absence of adequate health and safety regulations before the millennium, the dangers of asbestos were ignored for too long. Unfortunately, the symptoms of asbestos related diseases often lag behind the initial contact with the substance and as a result it is only now that many people are feeling the effects of acute conditions such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Such sufferers should contact a work accident solicitor to see if they are entitled to compensation.

Nowadays it is mainly construction workers working on buildings constructed prior to 2000 and potentially any residents in such buildings who are at risk from asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos fibres can easily be inhaled when carrying out demolition work or repairs because they can be found in all of the following:

• Wall and ceiling cavities

• Pipes

• Floors

• Roofs

• Cement

• Insulating boards

Now that asbestos is so heavily regulated and there are laws in place to protect workers from exposure to asbestos fibres, employers should not find that workers contract asbestos-related diseases but sadly, many employers will ignore the regulations.

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