Asbestos is the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK causing or greatly accelerating industrial diseases, with deaths from asbestos set to rise.
It is a stark fact that the number of asbestos-related diseases, and deaths from asbestos, continues to rise even today and will keep on rising for the next 5 to 10 years. What is even more disheartening is that knowledge of the hazards of asbestos has been in the public domain since mid 1960.
Asbestos was banned in UK construction in the mid 1980’s, but certain materials were still manufactured and used until 1999.
The reason why illness and deaths from asbestos exposure are still rising is due to what is called the latency period, which is the time from exposure to an illness becoming apparent. Someone exposed to asbestos dust can take 10, 20 or even over 40 years to show any effects.
Surprisingly, the largest increase in those affected are maintenance workers such as electricians, plumbers, heating and telephone engineers, rather than those who worked within the asbestos industry, although of course they are still affected.
Hattons have represented a number of people employed in the building trade who have been exposed and developed illness. They are often involved in the demolition or refurbishment of older buildings, drilling holes into the asbestos which causes dust and then at a later date illness.
There are no safe levels of asbestos and the affects of exposure to asbestos can be horrific. It is thought that one fibre can cause the most potent condition mesothelioma though there are lots of medical and legal guidelines as to how much exposure proven in a certain way is needed to establish a link with asbestos as a cause of a particular condition.
Therefore we at Hattons Solicitors are proactively working to raise awareness of asbestos related diseases and the steps that people need to take if they think they have been affected.
In fact, Hattons Senior Partner, Bruce Hatton, has for many years been actively involved in the fight to get justice for asbestos victims who, for example, are dying of mesothelioma or disabled through asbestosis.
“I have worked in the personal injury and industrial disease sector for over twenty years, and right from the beginning I have been passionate about getting justice for the victims of asbestos related diseases.
“Often I have had to work on tragic cases where a family have asked me to help them after their loved one has become very ill or even passed away and time and time again I’m shocked at the circumstances in which workers have become exposed asbestos and developed such a debilitating condition as a price they paid for doing a hard day’s work.”
“My advice to anyone who thinks that they have been exposed to asbestos in the past and is having health problems is to seek medical attention immediately. Make sure that you mention your exposure to asbestos and think about the period of exposure and the ways in which you could have come into contact with the dust. It can often take a long time for symptoms to show and so illness can only become apparent often up to 40 years after being exposed.”
Bruce has been a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel for over ten years, and has been a member of APIL and the American Association for Justice for many years. He has appeared personally before the Coroners Court, the Magistrates Court and the County Court, as well as taking clients’ cases to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and even abroad with Litigation in the USA.
If you feel that you want justice for the pain and suffering caused by being exposed to asbestos then you can call our local legal team for confidential advice on 0800 298 9690.
Hattons would like to see employers working to prevent deaths from asbestos, so if you would like more information on asbestos in the work place training then visit www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos