It is a well-known fact some occupations can be more dangerous than others. For example, an office worker that spends most of their time using a computer, pen and paper all day long isnít going to be at risk of acquiring workplace injuries whereas someone who works on construction sites is highly likely to incur health issues such as injuries or medical conditions like diseases.
What is mesothelioma?
One such medical condition that many people receive in the construction industry, and in related industries, is called mesothelioma. In a nutshell, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the development of tissue covering the lungs or abdomen.
It is named so because it is a cancer that attacks mesothelial cells. Three quarters of patients that have mesothelioma develop it in their chest.
Although it is quite rare to develop mesothelioma (only 2,500 people in the United Kingdom develop this form of cancer each year), it is sadly becoming more common nowadays. The main culprit of mesothelioma is asbestos.
What is asbestos?
Between the 1950s and 1980s, asbestos was commonly used as a building material in residential and commercial buildings throughout Britain. The reason why it was used was because it was an ideal material at the time to use for soundproofing and fireproofing.
If asbestos is contained within other materials, then they are usually considered to be safe, but the main problem – and significant danger to human health – is when asbestos fibres become airborne, such as from damaged outer materials.
Airborne asbestos fibres are dangerous because if they are inhaled by people in great quantities, the risk that those same people can contract asbestos-related conditions such as mesothelioma can significantly increase.
It is also worth noting that people who smoke and deal with materials which contain asbestos on a regular basis are at an even greater disadvantage compared to those who do not.
What happens if I have been diagnosed with mesothelioma?
Unfortunately, many people that have been diagnosed as having mesothelioma are usually at an advanced stage of the condition, but there are some options available to help prolong your life and help you to live as comfortably as possible.
Obviously by now you will not be in a position to work anymore, so it is worth noting that there are some key options available to you from a financial point of view.
You may be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) from the government, and can be paid out to you on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis direct to your bank account.
This benefit is worth around £7,200 a year, and if awarded this benefit, you may be entitled to further benefits. Bear in mind that IIDB is only paid out to those who worked directly for an employer, so if you were self-employed, you arenít eligible.
You could also be entitled to a one-off lump-sum payment under The Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workersí Compensation) Act 1979 (if you can claim IIDB) or the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008 (if you canít claim IIDB).
Can I claim compensation?
It is worth noting that you are also entitled to pursue a compensation claim from your employer, which is also useful for demolition workers claiming compensation for asbestos exposure.
If this is something you wish to do, then you should make sure that you speak to a law firm that specialises in such matters, so that you have the best possible chance of securing compensation as a result of your asbestos exposure.
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