Dealing with Asbestos at work
Once a popular insulator, building and fireproofing material used in construction projects throughout the 20th century, asbestos has since been linked with causing severe health conditions like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. If you have worked with asbestos materials or have been exposed to its deadly fibres, you may be at long-term risk of developing one of these conditions. Read this article to learn more about asbestos-related cases in the UK—and what you can do if you have become the victim of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos: By the Numbers
While the use of asbestos materials in new construction projects was publically banned in 1999, the deadly fibre will continue to claim victims well into the future. Symptoms of exposure can take decades to develop in victims, meaning that those who worked closely with the material in the latter part of the 20th century may still not exhibit symptoms. In addition, asbestos materials remain in properties in the UK that predate the year 2000, meaning that anyone who comes in contact with disturbed asbestos products as the result of maintenance, neglect, or natural disaster in future years may be put at risk.
The latest data from The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that in 2010, 2,347 people in the UK died from mesothelioma, while 2,000 died from lung cancer and an additional 412 from asbestosis. The annual death rate is not expected to peak until 2016, claiming thousands more victims in immediate years.
The number of asbestos claims in the UK has seen a dramatic increase in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue as the death toll rises. According to the latest HSE statistics, there were 1,985 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Disablement Benefit in 2011, while the number of new compensation for asbestosis was 725 and for asbestos-related lung cancer benefits the number was 315. A new ruling from the UK Supreme Court last year will give even more victims access to financial compensation, as insurance liability is placed on the company covering the employee at the time of exposure, not when symptoms first appeared.
If you are considering making an asbestos compensation claim, the first step is to determine your eligibility. People diagnosed with an asbestos-related health condition are eligible to submit a claim, regardless or the amount of time that has elapsed since they last worked at the job where they were exposed or of the terms of their employment. Families of victims of asbestos poisoning are eligible to make claims on behalf of the deceased as well.
Daniel Paddings – Medical Student and freelance journalist and copy writer