Abestos and the Law

Asbestos has long been dubbed “The Hidden Killer” because of the fact that its effects are usually only felt many years after the initial exposure. Asbestos particles may lie dormant within the body for many years. It is unknown how many people may yet develop symptoms. Those most at risk are people who work at all levels of building industry, including self employed tradesman who may still come across asbestos in their working lives. It is also unknown how much dangerous asbestos is still in existence in buildings before its use was banned. It follows that there is still a risk when undertaking repair or renovation works, especially in older buildings. It is essential that those at risk have the necessary protective equipment in place and a good starting point for advice is to log on to the HSE website which can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/.


The problem with asbestos exposure is that it can take many years for symptoms to become apparent and can take up to 40 years for the first signs of disease to show. Symptoms can range from mild breathing discomfort to potentially life threatening conditions. Often treatment may be able to alleviate symptoms and prompt medical advice should be sought.


The legal implications of asbestos disease are far ranging. In the more serious cases those affected are often unable to work, causing financial hardship. In many cases the disease relates to exposure many years ago, but it is still possible to bring a claim for compensation even after many decades have passed. It is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as a diagnosis of asbestos disease is made or indeed suspected as it is usually only possible to bring the claim within 3 years of the date when symptoms began. Where symptoms are severe, substantial awards of compensation can help to offset loss of income and safeguard family and dependants.


The message is clear -: Adequate protection is still needed to safeguard against injury even though asbestos is no longer used in the building industry. Seek advice about protective equipment if this potentially affects you or your workers. You must comply with stringent government regulations.


For those with suspected or confirmed disease the advice is also clear :- See a solicitor without delay as you may be entitled to compensation.

If you require further advice and assistance please contact Peter Haycock at our Leek office on 01538 385201 or email peterhaycock@ahbrooks.co.uk