MoD Workers Potentially Exposed to Asbestos
The Ministry of Defence has been criticised for failing to provide information about workers who may have been exposed to asbestos while working on its helicopters.
The Union, Unite, have claimed to have been urging the MoD for the last year to contact the estimated 1,000 workers who had had contact with the Sea King helicopters, which had used components containing asbestos. However, the MoD claim they do not have a record of the staff who worked for them since 1969 as many of them had been external contractors, and when asked how they were planning to contact their ex-employees, the MoD gave no response.
Asbestos related diseases can be extremely dangerous and in some cases even fatal.
In 2016, there were 2,595 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain, and the latest projections suggest that there will continue to be around 2,500 deaths per year for the rest of this current decade before annual numbers begin to decline.
It is reported that annual deaths are continuing to increase among those aged 75 years or over, but are reducing among those aged below 70 years. There were 2,170 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2016, and men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively are now among those most at risk of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is mainly caused by being exposed to asbestos, the most common being pleural mesothelioma, which damages the lungs, causing shortness of breath and it can be fatal. It is important to seek medical help if you feel you have been exposed to asbestos, as mesothelioma can affect those who have only had a small amount of exposure.
Asbestosis is a form of scarring on the lungs that is caused by significant exposure to asbestos dust, it is also known as fibrosis. Asbestosis makes it hard for your lungs to work effectively and can cause mild to severe breathlessness.
Both are extremely dangerous and you must seek medical help if you feel like you have been exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos can affect anyone, it is not exclusive to any specific industry or trade. You may be more likely to be exposed to asbestos if you work in industries such as in factories, however anyone can be exposed and you should seek medical help if you feel you may have been exposed. As asbestos can be found in the structures of buildings, you can be exposed to it in any industry and is extremely dangerous as symptoms may not develop for years after the exposure.
The MoD discovered asbestos in the helicopters last year, when maintenance on an old aircraft revealed the asbestos in an exhaust panel seal. Unite urged the MoD to identify all current employees who may have been exposed to asbestos; offer counselling or medical checks for conditions like mesothelioma for all current and former workers; and notify all former MoD employees who may have had contact with the Sea King helicopters.
Rebecca Montague, a specialist asbestos claims solicitor at Macks says…
If you feel like you, or a family member, has been exposed to asbestos and should receive compensation for this, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how we can help. We offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss the process with you, and you can decide how we proceed from there.
Our phone lines are open 8am – 9pm, 7 days a week so if you would like to make an enquiry you can call us today on 01642 252828.