Asbestos exposure: who is responsible for prevention
Asbestos is often overlooked, and many believe that asbestos exposure is no longer a concern due to strict government regulations and its removal from renovation projects. While asbestos has been banned for decades because exposure can lead to mesothelioma and related cancers, it remains a problem today.
What is asbestos exposure?
Asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos particles are inhaled into the lungs. What is particularly concerning about the potential for asbestos exposure is the significant amount of this substance that remains in many older buildings. It’s important to note that asbestos was used in ceilings, walls, floors, and various building materials due to its flame-retardant properties. Even a small scratch or cut into asbestos-containing materials can result in exposure.
Asbestos remains harmless if left undisturbed within construction materials. Many buildings that have not undergone renovation may still contain a substantial amount of asbestos. However, once disturbed, asbestos becomes airborne and poses a significant health risk. The fibers cannot be digested by the human body and can become trapped in the digestive tract, increasing the risk of mesothelioma and other related cancers.
The issue with asbestos exposure is that its harmful effects do not always manifest immediately. Symptoms can take many years to appear, and there is currently no cure for the consequences of asbestos exposure. This is what makes it a significant health concern. Repeated exposure causes fibers to accumulate, exacerbating the problem and increasing the severity of inflammation, which can lead to the development of cancer
Who is responsible for preventing asbestos exposure?
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that the Duty Holder is responsible in the case of asbestos exposure. This person or group of people includes property owners, including landlords. Anyone who holds the deed to a property where asbestos exposure occurs can be held liable.
Therefore, before any property renovations, such as flooring, wall removal, electrical updates, or any work that may disturb potential asbestos materials, a comprehensive assessment must be conducted. During this assessment, the property owner will be informed of the presence of asbestos and whether it needs to be removed before renovations can begin.
Neglecting to perform a proper inspection and subsequent removal of unstable asbestos can lead to potential asbestos exposure. Licensed asbestos removal teams must handle asbestos removal before any renovations commence. These teams use specialised equipment to minimise the risk of exposure and ensure the area is clear before starting renovations.
What are responsibilities of a duty holder?
Apart from complying with all regulations from the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, a duty holder must:
- identify materials where asbestos exposure is possible
- complete asbestos risk assessment for those possibly exposed
- prepare a risk management plan
- maintain records on asbestos materials used within the property
- provide information on condition and location of materials to anyone performing maintenance in those areas.
What if you are exposed?
Asbestos exposure is a serious and alarming possibility. What makes potential exposure particularly concerning is the lengthy latency period for symptoms to develop. Diseases like mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers can take years, and in some cases, even decades, to manifest noticeable symptoms. This means that harmful asbestos fibers may reside in your body for an extended period before any health issues become apparent.
In the unfortunate event of asbestos exposure, there is no known method to reverse the resulting health effects. However, you may be eligible for compensation due to the exposure.
How SilverOak Solicitors can help
At SilverOak Solicitors, we specialise in handling personal injury and housing disrepair claims. We take a bespoke approach to assist each affected person in obtaining compensation for both medical and personal expenses. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, it’s crucial not to wait for symptoms to appear.
Let SilverOak Solicitors handle your case. Our team of experts is experienced in personal injury and housing disrepair and is eager to put their knowledge to work for you. Don’t jeopardize your life or your family’s well-being due to asbestos exposure. Silver Oak Solicitors is here for you when you need us the most. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos or suspect exposure, please contact us without delay.
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