Asbestos The Fatal Fibre

Martin Hanna

20 October 2016

Anyone who has known a family member or friend who has suffered from an asbestos related disease knows too well how horrific these conditions can be. 

Asbestos was extensively used commercially between the 1940s and 1980s until it was eventually banned.  In Northern Ireland, some of our major industries used asbestos during this time period - primarily the ship-building industry at Harland & Wolff, but also the building industry, power stations and a large number of factories and work premises across the province.

No tradesman working in close proximity to asbestos was immune from the effects.  There was no safe period of exposure to asbestos - whether a person was exposed for a very short period of time or had prolonged exposure over many years, there is still a risk of developing an asbestos related disease. Laggers, insulation engineers, demolition workers, builders, asbestos manufacture workers, roofing contractors, plumbers, electricians, gas safety engineers, fabrication workers and boilermakers - all of these hard working tradesmen were exposed to asbestos while their employers had guilty knowledge about the dangers associated with exposure to asbestos without protection. 

Tragically, loved ones back home weren’t immune. Wives, mothers, sisters and brothers contracted asbestos conditions from secondary exposure to a husband or father’s work clothes after he returned home from work in his asbestos covered overalls.   

The conditions that can be caused by exposure to asbestos are;


•             Pleural plaques

•             Unilateral Diffuse Pleural thickening

•             Asbestosis

•             Mesothelioma

•             Lung cancer with asbestosis

The time between exposure to asbestos and the development of symptoms of any related disease can frequently be up to 40 years and beyond.  Sadly still to this day, people are being medically diagnosed with asbestos- related conditions which were caused by exposure to the substance years beforehand. 

It is important to be aware that all asbestos-related diseases are compensatable if they can be attributed to a former period of employment.   Therefore, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, you should seek legal advice from a specialist asbestos lawyer on compensation and benefits entitlement for any harm or suffering this exposure to asbestos has caused.  Please contact if you have any queries about claiming for asbestos related illnesses.