Workers who have inhaled asbestos fibres can suffer from serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural thickening. These diseases cause around 4,000 deaths every year.
The Health and Safety Executive recently revealed that it had fined J C Irvine Limited, a building contractor, after it carried out work without first conducting an asbestos survey. As a result, workers disturbed materials that contained asbestos and fibres were released into the air.
J C Irvine took no steps to mitigate health and safety risks, nor did it ensure its workers were not exposed to asbestos fibres. The firm was subsequently fined £12,000 plus costs of £2,148.50.
Hayley Healey, an HSE inspector, said construction workers are often at risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases because of the nature of their work.
A partner at the law firm Alkers explained that awareness of the dangers of asbestos is high, but not all companies take the necessary measures to protect their workers. We still see many construction workers who want to file a personal injury claim against their employer because the company ignored health and safety regulations and exposed its workers to unnecessary risks.
Companies must get to grips with the HSE regulations surrounding asbestos and then stick to them, or face expensive personal injury at work compensation claims.