Construction site accidents: Asbestos illnesses

Having an accident at work is a major concern. Your safety at work is paramount and there are few more deadly work hazards than asbestos.

I’ve heard of asbestos before, but I’ve no idea what it is!

Asbestos is a building material that became popular in the 19th century as a durable, cheap and reliable material. Its use however, has been linked to many illnesses and has been attributed to many work related illnesses.

What kinds of illnesses can asbestos cause?

Asbestos can cause a number of nasty illnesses including but not limited to; mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestos warts and asbestosis. Latest estimates from the HSE show that around 2000 deaths from lung cancer per year can be attributed to prolonged inhalation of asbestos.

Is asbestos still used as a building material?

The use of asbestos in most countries is heavily regulated. Thankfully, the use of asbestos as a building material has been outlawed in the United Kingdom since 1999.

I’ve heard many places buildings contain asbestos, is this true?

Unfortunately, many buildings still contain asbestos and contact with deteriorated matter can be deadly. Since 2012, owners of any non-domestic buildings such as workplaces have a duty to ensure the management of asbestos and remove any instances where the material may have deteriorated. In any occupation where exposure to asbestos is likely, employers are obligated to provide mandatory training for what to do in cases of contact with asbestos.

I’ve been working in a building that contains asbestos, I now feel ill. What should I do?

If after exposure to asbestos you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you should consider consulting your doctor. Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness, persistent cough that worsens over time, blood in fluid coughed up, pain or tightening in chest, difficulty swallowing, swelling of neck or face, decreased appetite, weight loss, fatigue or anaemia.

I suffer from these symptoms and my doctor believes that my symptoms may be related to asbestos exposure. Who should I contact now about an accident claim?

If you believe that you have been the victim of an illness related to exposure to asbestos and it wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to work accident compensation. Claiming compensation may not cure your illness but in many cases it can help to ease the suffering. Accident Advice Helpline is here to help.

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