Asbestos is never a word you want to hear. Unfortunately Asbestos still exists in significant properties across the UK. Before it was banned, asbestos was used extensively in buildings in the ceilings, floors and for pipe insulation. It has a fearsome reputation that is well deserved – it causes around 5000 deaths every year. In lots of cases, asbestos that remains in situ without being disturbed poses not risk. However, if the asbestos is in poor condition, or is likely to be damaged or disturbed then it becomes a risk to your health. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL tips for dealing with asbestos in the office.
IF YOU DISCOVER IT, LEAVE IT ALONE
Most of us assume we’re safe from the threat of asbestos, but this isn’t always the case. Asbestos wasn’t banned until 1999, so only buildings built from 2000 onwards are definitely asbestos free. If you find asbestos on your office, don’t touch it whatever you do. Most people think that the best thing to do with asbestos it to remove it as soon as possible. But this is the opposite of what you should do. An unqualified person should NEVER attempt to remove asbestos themselves as this can pose an either bigger risk.
CONTACT YOUR MAINTENANCE TEAM
If you’re concerned there might be asbestos in your office then contact your maintenance team immediately. According to law your employers have a legal responsibility to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos. Also, your workplace should have a duty holder – someone responsible for the maintenance of the building. This is typically the landlord of the building, but of course it depends on the tenancy agreement.
SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR
If you think asbestos has affected your health, speak with your doctor. Because asbestos related diseases can occur so long after exposure, it can come as a bit of a shock to the person. It may have been a job you worked in 30 years ago, yet it’s only affecting your health now.
As for which illnesses are related to asbestos, there are a number of them. The most common that people tend to hear about is mesothelioma. This is cancer that is found in the lining of a person’s lungs. It can also be present in the abdomen and heart. It is a slow forming cancer that generally takes 20-50 years to actually present itself.
Other types of illnesses caused by asbestos include asbestosis and pleural disease. Treatment depends on the disease you are diagnosed with, and its severity.
SPEAK TO A LAWYER
Rather than wonder if you’ve got a valid claim, the very best place to start is by making an appointment with a trusted professional such as Roper James Solicitors, a solicitors in Plymouth (if you’re from this area). Roper James Solicitors can provide one of their Plymouth injury lawyers and consultation services that take you through all the basics and determine if you have a valid claim.
If you visit a lawyer the first thing they will likely go over is where you believe you were exposed to the asbestos. Find one that has worked on claims with people in such jobs as power station workers, engineers, building workers, chemical plant workers, car production workers, car mechanics, ship building, and more. You will have needed to work in a factory or environment where asbestos was present, but it’s good to get a lawyer that has had experience in this area.
From here they will be able to discuss your options and let you know what the expected outcome would most likely be, including if you may be eligible for an asbestos compensation claim.
DON’T HESITATE TO MAKE A CLAIM
At the end of the day your health should be a top priority, which is why contacting a personal injury solicitor makes sense. The sooner you can determine if you have a valid claim through one of the law firms, the sooner you can move ahead with it and possibly reach a settlement deal.