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Asbestos – Who Is at Risk?

Asbestos – Who Is at Risk?

The inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause damage to the lungs and surrounding structures and this may entitle the victim to make an asbestos compensation claim. Asbestos that is contained, for example in a sheet or as insulation is safe, however it is when the asbestos is disturbed that danger is created. This can release free floating fibres into the air which when breathed may result in asbestos related disease.

Workers can be exposed to asbestos in a number of ways for example :

  • When asbestos was shipped to the UK, mainly from Canada and South Africa, powdered asbestos was put into sacks. These were handled by dock workers and fibres were released through the sacking and also when the sacks where ripped. Asbestos was later transported in paper sacks which contained the asbestos better but were also prone to rip and release asbestos fibres into the air.
  • Workers involved in manufacturing asbestos products were also at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. Asbestos compensation claims have been brought by those who came into contact with raw asbestos which was mixed with other compounds in open vessels. Finished products such as rope were often cut, releasing asbestos dust and the sawing of asbestos sheeting and other products also released clouds of asbestos fibres to which workers were exposed.
  • The main use of asbestos was to insulate pipes, valves and boilers. When this asbestos was removed, often during the course of maintenance works, this released significant amounts of asbestos dust into the air to which workers were exposed. Many asbestos compensation claims arise from exposure like this.
  • Asbestos sheeting was also installed in ovens, electric fires and commercial fryers. In the manufacture of these products asbestos sheets had to be cut, sawn and drilled which released asbestos fibres.
  • The building and engineering industries used many asbestos products such as in cladding for walls, in the formation of partitions, ceiling tiles and also as soffit boards and as gutters and downpipes. Those involved in the cutting, sawing and drilling of these products in the building industry would be vulnerable to developing asbestos related disease and they may well be entitled to making and asbestos compensation claim.
  • It is not just those who work with asbestos who are in danger. Asbestos compensation claims have been brought by  workers  such as carpenters, joiners and painters who worked alongside those who handled and removed asbestos such as asbestos laggers.

Asbestos disease and therefore asbestos compensation claims can happen anywhere in the country however because asbestos was widely used in industrial processes it is our experience that there are certain places where asbestos related disease and asbestos claims are more common than the national average. Below is a non-exhaustive list of areas where asbestos related illness is particularly common, alongside the industries based there which used asbestos.

  • Teesside – Shipbuilding, steel making and chemical manufacturing
  • Tyne & Wear – Shipbuilding and asbestos manufacturing
  • West Yorkshire – Textiles and manufacturing, power stations
  • South Yorkshire – Steel making, power stations, railways and engineering
  • Merseyside – Shipbuilding, dock work, asbestos production and chemical manufacturing
  • Cumbria – Shipbuilding
  • East Midlands – Railways, textiles and manufacturing, power stations
  • West Midlands – Car industry, steel industry, power stations and iron and steel
  • South East – Docks and shipbuilding, asbestos manufacturing
  • South West – Dockyards, shipbuilding, naval shipyards