Thankfully, most people who live, study, work in or visit a building where asbestos is present will never have a problem.
But if the asbestos materials are disturbed, degrading, damaged or worked on without proper precautions, then you may be exposed to the harmful fibres as they are released into the air.
Even then, you may not develop any asbestos related illness, but an unlucky few may go on to develop an issue.
The effects of harmful asbestos exposure will not begin to show for at least 10 years and maybe not for 50 or 60 years after the harmful exposure took place.
So if you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos, there’s nothing you need to do immediately, but you will of course want to avoid any further exposure and report your concerns about your exposure to your employer or the building owner. You should also keep a record of the incident. But hopefully, you will never encounter any problems.
Can I Be Exposed to Asbestos in Non-Industrial Settings?
Yes. Although asbestos related illnesses are most commonly associated with heavy industry such as shipbuilding, construction and refurbishment, engineering, our Industrial Disease Solicitors have seen more and more people seeking our help after suffering low-level exposure in other settings.
For instance, we’ve been approached by and are currently acting on behalf of teachers, nurses, librarians and someone who lived in an unsafe block of flats, and are working hard to help them get the compensation settlements they deserve.
We’ve probably all been in buildings where asbestos materials are present at some point, and many of our older schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals and council buildings did and still do contain asbestos materials.
You can still commonly find asbestos in:
- Ceiling or floor cavities
- Lagging insulation on pipework
- Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls, beams and columns
- Insulating board
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Textured coatings
- Asbestos cement product like corrugated roof panels
- Roofing felt
That means employers and owners must manage this risk properly to prevent occupants coming to harm.
According to UK regulations, if existing asbestos containing materials in buildings are in good condition and aren’t likely to be damaged, they may be left in place, and their condition must be monitored and managed to make sure they aren’t disturbed.