Shipbuilding | A History of Asbestos

Posted on: 2 mins read
Deborah Krelle

Partner, Head of Industrial Disease

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Knowing what we now know about asbestos, it’s difficult to believe that it was so widely used in many industries throughout the 20th century.

But at the time, asbestos was seen as a highly effective material with a number of uses including:

  • Insulation
  • Sound absorption
  • Fireproofing

Asbestos was a popular resource in the building of ships throughout the mid-1900s due to its ability to resist corrosion and high temperatures. This made it ideal for insulating steam pipes, boiler rooms and incinerators on board ships.

As time has gone on, we’ve seen the consequences of the widespread usage of asbestos on ships and in boat yards as workers have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases decades later.

If you’ve developed an asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or pleural thickening after being exposed to the dangerous fibres, our Industrial Disease Solicitors could help you access compensation and treatment, some of which may not be available on the NHS.

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Who Was Most at Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

In most boat yards in the mid-20th century, the people who would be in direct contact with asbestos were the “laggers” who would apply asbestos insultation during the construction of ships. But they weren’t the only workers who were exposed to asbestos fibres.

There were also labourers who were employed to create an asbestos paste to be sprayed on pipes and bulk heads. This paste would be mixed in open containers and often dust would be whipped up into the air and onto the floor. It was the labourers’ responsibility to sweep up this dust which they would inevitably inhale.

This danger also existed for the people who were responsible for maintaining ships after they were built.

Boiler workers and plumbers would often need to remove asbestos insulation to get access to boilers and pipes. They would do this without protective equipment to prevent them from breathing in the asbestos dust as the fibres were disturbed.

How Can an Industrial Disease Solicitor Help?

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors have years of combined experience in handling Asbestos Claims and getting people the compensation and support they deserve.

If you’re unsure of your eligibility to make a claim, or you have any questions, we can help you through an initial free claims assessment where we’ll listen to the details of your situation and provide you with a clear view on your eligibility to claim and the next steps.

If we can take on your case, we’ll work on your behalf to gather the evidence needed to support your claim and secure you the best outcome, providing guidance and expertise along the way.

We work on a No Win, No Fee basis so there is no financial risk to you.

Is There a Time Limit on When I Can Make a Claim?

In Personal Injury claims, there is three-year time limit on when you can make a claim. But because asbestos-related illnesses can take years to develop, this time period will start from the date you were diagnosed or from when you knew you had an asbestos related disease.

Since 1972, companies have been required by law to have Employers’ Liability insurance. So even if the place that harmfully exposed you to asbestos no longer exists, we could still pursue compensation for you.

Get in touch with our expert Industrial Disease Solicitors to see how we can help you.

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