Asbestos in Shipyards Compensation Claims
Asbestos was used extensively within the shipbuilding industry throughout the UK particularly in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Its ability to withstand high temperatures and corrosion made asbestos an ideal material for insulating the ship’s boilers, steam pipes, hot water pipes and incinerators.
Laggers were responsible for the application of the asbestos insulation but would normally be working in close proximity to a variety of other trades including sheet metal workers, boiler makers, joiners, electricians and painters. Labourers were also employed in the same areas to mix the asbestos powder with water in large open containers to produce the paste that would then be sprayed on to bulk heads and pipes. They would then sweep up the asbestos dust that was left. As a consequence anyone involved in shipbuilding during this period faced a risk of significant asbestos exposure.
The risk of asbestos exposure also arose through maintenance and repair work undertaken on many vessels following construction. This often meant that large amounts of asbestos lagging would be removed in order to gain access to pipes and boilers.
As a result of the heavy use of asbestos in shipbuilding, towns and cities with a history in this industry have become asbestos disease hot spots. These include Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Tyneside and Chatham.
Many former shipyard workers moved from these areas in order to find alternative employment but have subsequently developed asbestos related conditions because of their past work. This is because it can take between 10 and 60 + years for symptoms to develop following exposure to asbestos.
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