Approximately 18,000 people in the UK regularly work on offshore installations such as mobile drilling rigs and fixed production platforms. Although employees may remain on these structures for weeks at a time, they provide a valuable service – often supplying the mainland with materials such as gas and oil.
Although the BBC states these people may receive a number of benefits – such as having access to "impressive" recreational facilities, unlimited free food, and are usually able to phone their families for no charge – the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned that those working on older offshore installations could be exposed to a dangerous material called asbestos.
Asbestos and offshore installations
Asbestos is a heat-resistant and insulating substance which was widely used in the construction industry up until the middle of the 1980s – but can still be found in any property built or refurbished before the year 2000.
However, when disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres can become airborne. If these are inhaled, individuals could develop serious health conditions decades after their original exposure.
For example, up to 30 years after a sufferer first comes into contact with asbestos, he or she may be diagnosed with asbestosis. This condition scars the tissue surrounding the lungs, usually resulting in a persistent cough or shortness of breath. Although asbestosis does not directly harm the lungs, sufferers could have an increased chance of developing potentially fatal conditions such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Fortunately, legislation has been implemented which prevents individuals from using, importing or supplying asbestos. Yet, the HSE warns that this substance could be present in any offshore installation constructed before the start of the 21st Century. As these structures may need regular maintenance, the organisation has warned that such measures could disturb or damage any materials that contain asbestos. As a result, if employers have not implemented adequate safety procedures, staff members could come into contact with this dangerous substance.
However, it has been suggested that some duty-holders are failing to do this – potentially resulting in staff members suffering asbestos exposure. For example, it appears that in one instance, employers failed to adequately identify the presence of asbestos in a floor under a freezer. Consequently, staff members were not provided with suitable protection when they removed the surface. Sadly, asbestos was present in as much as 25% of the floor's materials, potentially harming the workers and any individuals in the immediate vicinity.
The HSE highlights similar examples where employees in offshore installations could have been exposed to asbestos fibres due to the negligence of duty-holders. However, if these people were adversely affected, they could be entitled to claim mesothelioma or asbestosis compensation through Seth Lovis & Co.
Claiming asbestosis compensation
Asbestosis symptoms can seriously affect a sufferer's quality of life, preventing them from working or completing everyday tasks. Yet, if these individuals acquired their conditions due to another person's negligence, Seth Lovis & Co could help them receive damages.
Contact us today by calling 0370 218 4025 or completing an online enquiry form to find out if you could benefit from our team of specialist solicitors.