During the 1960’s-70’s asbestos was frequently used in the mining, construction and shipbuilding industries. It is a naturally occurring mineral which was used because of its non-flammable, flexible, virtually indestructible and low heat-conducting properties. There are several different types of asbestos each being used in different industries and each being banned in the UK at a different time, the table below shows this:
|Type of Asbestos||Common Name||Industry used in/use||Year Banned in UK|
|Crocidolite||Blue Asbestos||Building as it was used to create asbestos cement products.||1985|
|Amosite||Brown Asbestos||Building as it was used for insulation and frequently as a fire retardant thermal insulator in ceiling tiles.||1985|
|Chrysotile||White Asbestos||Textile as it can be woven into fabric, also used as a component of corrugated asbestos cement roof sheets.||1999|
Despite its useful properties and various uses, asbestos was very dangerous as it is comprised of millions of long thin fibres which when inhaled into the lungs can cause a number of diseases and cause around 4000 deaths a year.
There are four main asbestos related diseases which differ in severity, mesothelioma which is always terminal, lung cancer which can be terminal, asbestosis which is not always fatal but can be debilitating as it causes lungs to lose their elasticity and not function properly, and pleural thickening which can hamper the expansion of the lungs and cause breathing to be restricted.
In the vast majority of cases these diseases do not develop until many years after exposure to asbestos, therefore the time limit for bringing a claim is 3 years from the date you became aware of having the disease or three years from the date of death of someone who has died from an asbestos related illness, and not the date at which you were exposed to the asbestos. Where you have been exposed to asbestos by several different employers they will be jointly and severally liable.
If you need advice please call the PM Law Industrial Disease team on 0114 296 5444 or submit your details on the query form on this page and one of our legal consultants will contact you at a convenient time.