In recent years it has become clearly evident that an increasing number of mesothelioma claim cases are being made by men who were regularly exposed to asbestos while employed in the building and utility trade industries up until the first asbestos ban was introduced in the mid 1980s.

Trade occupations direct contact with asbestos…

Sometimes referred to as “second wave” victims, the lack of asbestos awareness to the long-term health risks meant that many categories of tradesmen manually handled building materials manufactured from asbestos fibres and breathed in the airborne dust particles.

There were many trade occupations who were most likely to have direct contact with materials such as asbestos insulating board, cement products, floor and ceiling tiles, roofing sheets and sprayed surface coatings. They most frequently include builders, carpenters, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) installers, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, tilers, roofers, painters and decorators.

Inevitably, many who were exposed during the peak period of asbestos use ( 1940s -1980s) were employed in the North of England and the Midlands.

Five years without asbestos protection…

A recent example is the case of a 73 year old, former boiler installer from Worcester who contracted mesothelioma after years of working with asbestos sheets without any protective equipment or information provided on the deadly health dangers.

The engineer was employed at a major UK boiler manufacturer for nearly thirty years, of which, five years during the 1970s were spent assembling wall-mounted boilers and regularly working with asbestos insulation boards. Once asbestos dust particles are released into the atmosphere and inhaled, the fibres lodge permanently in the pleura ( lung linings), causing irritation, inflammation and eventually lead to asbestosis disease or the fatal, incurable mesothelioma cancer.

There is normally a long gestation period of between 15 to 50 years from first exposure to the eventual appearance of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms. Consequently, the former boiler engineer was only diagnosed with the deadly disease in 2012.

As with so many victims, the key concern was that in the remaining time left, mesothlioma compensation could be ensured for the future financial security of his wife and family.

Asbestos in properties around the UK…

The import of white asbestos was banned in 1999, yet it was estimated in 2003 that there was still around six million tonnes of asbestos containing materials in properties throughout the UK originally installed by construction trade occupations. In August 2011, a Freedom of Information request revealed that of the 12,000 council properties surveyed in the Stoke On Trent area, more than 3 in 5 were found to contain asbestos.

Despite a fall in mortality rates for many other types of cancers, mesothelioma still accounts for around 2,300 UK deaths each year (HSE).