The discovery of asbestos in the Royal Mail delivery office in Kirkby, Merseyside saw postal workers strike last week. But what was the concern, and what should you do if you suspect there is asbestos where you work?
On Wednesday 6 January 2016, Royal Mail workers walked out of the Kirkby delivery office without a ballot when asbestos was found during renovations to the building. Postal services resumed as of 12 January, following disruption to deliveries to the L32 and L33 postcodes.
The asbestos has been removed but, according to a Royal Mail spokesperson, was not disturbed and so was not a health risk to staff and visitors. Secretary of the Communication Workers Union’s Greater Merseyside branch, Mark Walsh, said: “Staff walked out because of the asbestos and how it has been communicated to them. The action was unballoted as a decision was made quite quickly after the material was found.
“It should now be resolved, as we’ve had confirmation from experts that it’s a safe environment to work in and safeguards have been put in place. The inspections allayed members’ fears.”
The Cause for Alarm with Asbestos
Whether in the workplace or in your home, the discovery of asbestos is cause for an urgent call to action. It’s for this reason that the workers at the Royal Mail deliveries office were right to pay caution and leave the building until specialists could confirm the risk and remove it. Fortunately it appears that the asbestos was low risk and undisturbed.
This matters because exposure to asbestos dust and fibres can result in serious lung diseases and cancer, such as mesothelioma. Asbestos was widely used in commercial buildings in the UK until 1999, so many homes and workplaces are likely to contain the carcinogenic substance. Often asbestos is concealed behind walls or in flooring, and so is not a threat until disturbed.
Asbestos in Your Workplace
If asbestos is found in your building or you’re unsure whether you have been exposed, it is important that you register this as soon as possible. One of the tragedies of exposure to asbestos is that victims are not always aware, or even if they are, the symptoms don’t become apparent for tens of years. By registering your exposure the time, place and employer will be documented for any legal action down the line.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos at work call the expert personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.
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