Accidents and disease in the shipbuilding industry

If you have been diagnosed with an illness which was caused by your place of work, you are entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. Employers have a duty of care towards employees to ensure their place of work is safe, however, there are some industries which are renowned for causing disease and illness in employees, one of which is shipbuilding.

Shipbuilding is notorious for being relatively risky work, with employees often working at heights and in small, confined spaces. Despite a significant downturn in recent years, it’s still a big industry in the UK with many shipyards still operating.


Common diseases in the industry

Those working in the shipbuilding industry can be exposed to a range of working conditions which can be hazardous to health and lead to industrial diseases.

Although it is no longer used, asbestos was a common material in shipyards and thanks to the gestation period of some asbestos-related diseases, illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis are the most common diseases for those who have worked in the industry to be diagnosed with.

Whilst asbestos-related diseases are no longer a threat to those currently working in the shipbuilding industry, shipbuilders do still stand at risk of contracting other industrial diseases, including tinnitus, industrial deafness and dermatitis .

Vickers Shipyards

The Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL) in Barrow-in-Furness and the Vickers Armstrongs Ltd yard in Newcastle upon Tyne, are both well-known for using asbestos as an insulator for boilers, pipe work and between compartments within the ships’ deckheads and bulkheads. It was also present in ships which were being built, re-fitted, repaired or decommissioned in these shipyards.

As a result of this heavy usage, it is expected that thousands of workers in both Cumbria and the North East were exposed to asbestos whilst working within shipbuilding without any protection against the commonly used material. Because of some of the lengthy gestation periods of some asbestos-related diseases, many VSEL employees were exposed to asbestos fibres that can cause asbestos-related diseases and are only now experiencing symptoms of asbestosis and pleural thickening, or mesothelioma.

If you are one of these individuals, we can help you claim compensation for your wrongful exposure to asbestos. We have already helped individuals from the Barrow shipyard claim compensation and you can read about one man’s story here .

Asbestosis and pleural thickening

The most common industrial diseases associated with shipbuilding are due to asbestos exposure. The substance was commonly used in the 1950s to 1960s when firms were unaware of the dangers it posed. Shipbuilding and repair is just one of the industries which have seen a prolific number of asbestos related diseases affect its employees. Asbestos can settle in the lungs or other parts of the body, leading to chronic illness. Symptoms tend not to reveal themselves for decades after exposure.

Asbestos was banned completely in the UK in 1999; however, those who worked with or near asbestos may not know they have contracted one of the illnesses associated with asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma, pleural thickening, lung cancer and asbestosis, for years to come.

Making a claim

If you used to work within the shipbuilding industry and have been diagnosed with any of the diseases associated with this line of work, you should contact the team at JMW Solicitors today.

More and more people are coming forward to claim compensation from employers, and we encourage anyone who believes they were exposed to asbestos or who has contracted any sort of industrial disease or occupational illness to speak to a professional, qualified solicitor about their options.

There is a strict three year period in which you can apply for compensation, starting from when you first received your diagnosis. To speak to a solicitor, call our team today on 0800 054 6570.



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