Although the use, importation, and supply of all forms of asbestos is now illegal, the NHS states that approximately 4,000 people die as a result of this dangerous substance every year.
When someone is exposed to asbestos fibres, they may eventually develop certain diseases. However, these asbestos related diseases will not become apparent straight away as they take many years to develop. Instead, sufferers are likely to be diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition up to 40 or 50 years after their initial exposure.
For example, one of these diseases is called Mesothelioma. A type of cancer, this condition often develops in the lining of the lungs and can occur up to 60 years after an individual was originally exposed to asbestos.
Sadly, according to the NHS, this condition is always fatal – often killing the sufferer just months after their diagnosis.
Asbestos deaths in northern England
According to figures published by the Office of National Statistics, many areas in the north of England have a high number of asbestos-related fatalities.
For example, between 2006 and 2010, the Cumbria town of Barrow-in-Furness had an extremely high Mesothelioma mortality rate, responsible for 8.4 deaths out of every 100,000 people.
This trend is evident across many northern areas, such as Hartlepool, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle, and Sunderland.
As these locations were generally associated with shipbuilding, many of those affected are dockworkers and labourers.
Up until the mid 1980s, asbestos was widely employed as a shipbuilding material due to its heat resistant properties. As a result, this substance was commonly used to perform various tasks, including enclosing fuel lines, steam pipes, and hot water lines. Moreover, this material was frequently applied during the construction of ship boilers, often on parts such as exhaust systems and valves.
Unfortunately, although employers are currently required to reasonably prevent their staff members from coming into contact with asbestos fibres, workers in the 1970s and 1980s were provided with very little, if any protection.
In 2013, the Sunderland Echo published a piece which contained an interview with a former shipyard worker who had been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. The granddad, who was allegedly exposed to asbestos fibres at the age of 15, said it came as a “huge shock”.
He said, “We had no idea about the dangers of asbestos back then… We were not told to wear masks or other protective clothing.
“The asbestos was flying about all over the place and it wasn’t just me that was affected by it”
Although this condition will almost certainly take his life, the worker chose to pursue an industrial disease claim and was eventually granted “significant compensation”. Such funds can provide for treatment costs and can also help improve the quality of life for sufferers and their families.
Claiming asbestos compensation with Seth Lovis & Co
If you, or a family member, have developed an asbestos-related disease while working at a shipyard in the north of England, you may be entitled to receive compensation through a Newcastle based asbestos solicitor.