How to prove exposure to asbestos at work?


Asbestos exposure can lead to incurable illnesses, including asbestosis and asbestos-related cancer. If you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness as a result of being exposed to asbestos at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

However, to do so you will need to prove several key things:

  1. You are suffering from an asbestos-related illness.
  2. Your exposure happened in a specific workplace.
  3. Your employer was aware of the risk of asbestos exposure.
  4. Your employer failed to take appropriate action to protect you from the risk of asbestos exposure.

Proving you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness

You will need to have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness and have a medical report to show this diagnosis. This diagnosis and report should come from a specialist respiratory disease expert to have weight in court proceedings.

Proving where the asbestos exposure happened

This can be difficult, especially as it can take decades for symptoms of an asbestos-related illness to show after the exposure to asbestos occurred. The process will likely involve identifying what companies you have worked for where you may have been exposed, then reviewing asbestos-containing products and materials you may have dealt with.

Your case may also hinge on eyewitness testimony, so it is usually an advantage if you have former co-workers who can give evidence that asbestos exposure was a risk in a particular work environment.

Proving your employer knew the risk of asbestos exposure

An employer has to have been aware of the potential risk of asbestos exposure in order for you to make a claim. However, since most types of asbestos were banned in the UK in 1985, employers should reasonably have been aware of the risks after this point. This means that any exposure that happened after this is likely to be eligible for compensation.

Proving your employer failed in their duty to protect you from the risk of asbestos exposure

When working on any building built before 2000, an employer is required to establish whether asbestos is present. If it is, they must carry out a risk assessment to determine what level of danger is posed to workers and what steps need to be taken to minimise any risks. This is likely to include providing the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers and ensuring the asbestos is correctly handled and disposed of (if being removed).

If your employer failed to carry out a risk assessment, or take the appropriate steps to mitigate the risks of asbestos exposure, then you are likely to have a strong case. Proving this may depend on the employer’s ability or inability to provide a valid risk assessment for the period in question, plus eyewitness testimony from co-workers.

What to do if you have an asbestos-related illness

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness and believe this was caused by exposure to asbestos while you were at work, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer or former employer.

This compensation can be vital for funding the care you need, replacing lost income if you have to give up work and providing for your family. For advice and guidance on making a claim, it is highly recommended to speak to a specialist work-related injury solicitor to give you the strongest possible chance of a successful claim.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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