Asbestos is a natural material that was widely used in the UK shipbuilding industry until around the 1980s, although it wasn’t finally banned in all forms until 1999. Its excellent insulating, heat-resistant, non-corrosive and sound proofing properties made asbestos ideal for engine and boiler rooms, as well as being used within walls, floors and ceilings in sleeping areas and other parts of the vessel.
If asbestos fibres become airborne, they can be inhaled and may cause irreparable damage to the victim’s lungs, with some developing fatal lung diseases later in life. As the symptoms of these diseases usually don’t show for several decades after the exposure, many people are unaware that they have been harmed by their contact with asbestos until many years after the event.
Those working in the shipbuilding industry during the 1950s to 1980s were at risk of asbestos exposure and many are unlikely to have been warned of the dangers or been provided with any protective equipment by their employer.
Even though asbestos is no longer used in UK shipbuilding for the production of new vessels, it is still present in many ships that operate to this day, and great care must be taken when it comes to demolishing ships that may contain asbestos materials to ensure that workers are adequately protected.
What shipbuilding jobs carried a high asbestos risk?
Before the asbestos ban, there were many job roles within the shipbuilding industry that carried a high risk of asbestos exposure. These included:
• Royal Navy engineers
• Dockyard workers
• Engine and electrical fitters
• Lagging installers
• Cleaning staff on ships or shipyards
Anyone who worked with or near to asbestos materials, either when building ships or spending time in high-risk areas on board or in a shipyard, without using protective equipment, was at risk of exposure.
What to do if you were a worker in the shipbuilding industry and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition?
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and formerly worked as a shipbuilder or in one of the related trades and think that you were exposed to asbestos during the course of your employment, you might be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Being awarded compensation cannot return you to good health, but many of the people we help with claims tell us it can bring a measure of justice when a negligent employer is brought to account for not protecting workers as they should have.
Whether you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness yourself, or a close family member has recently passed away from the same, you might be eligible to make a claim for compensation, depending on the circumstances.
If you would like to know more about asbestos claims, find out more about the support available for victims and their families or discuss the legal options that may be open to you, please don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at Dedicated Accident Solicitors today, on 01332 897222.