1.3 million tradespeople at risk from dangers of Asbestos
The Health and Safety Executive has recently launched a new safety campaign as an average of 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos related diseases, including mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Those most at risk of coming into contact with potentially deadly asbestos includes construction workers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and painters and decorators. This campaign follows on from a survey carried out in September 2014 which highlighted that more than half of those responding knew that asbestos could be in old buildings built before 1970, but only 15 % knew that it could still be found in buildings built up to the year 2000.
Asbestos can still be found in various parts of buildings, the walls and ceilings, floor tiles, pipe work, boilers, guttering and so on. If it remains undisturbed it is harmless but if disturbed, the microscopic fibres can prove lethal if breathed in, causing lung disease and cancer.
This safety campaign follows hot on the heels of a recent High Court decision in which the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK successfully challenged the government’s plans to reduce payments to mesothelioma sufferers.
The court ruled that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s decision to subject the claims of mesothelioma victims to the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act, so that claimants could be charged up to 25% of their damages for costs normally met by insurers, was unlawful. The court accepted the arguments put forward by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups that Grayling had not properly reviewed the likely effects of LASPO on sufferers.
It is a view shared by many, that the Justice Secretary’s decision was driven by the insurance industry’s numerous proposals to make it harder for sufferers of asbestos related conditions (and indeed other work related illnesses), to obtain justice from negligent employers and their insurers.
If you have suffered from an asbestos related or other work related illness please contact our Head of Occupational Disease claims.