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30 March 2022 | Comment | Article by Richard Green

Industrial Heritage of Wales


Wales has a long history of industry in the form of power stations, steelworks, factories, chemical plants and oil refineries. Sadly, this history is tainted by the widespread use of asbestos and the deadly legacy it has wreaked on Welsh industrial workers shows no sign of ending.

Asbestos was commonly used throughout Wales in the construction of the above heavy industries. From Aberthaw Power Station in the Vale of Glamorgan to Trawsfynydd in North Wales and Pembroke Power Station in West Wales to East Moors steelworks in Cardiff, Port Talbot Steelworks and Ebbw Vale Steelworks – All corners of Wales have been affected by the use of asbestos in Wales industrial heritage.

Asbestos was an effective and cheap insulator of pipework, boilers, furnaces and was used anywhere there was intense heat or steam for fireproofing purposes.

It was often found in industrial settings in Wales in the form of powdered asbestos in sacks, preformed asbestos for pipework or asbestos insulation board. Given the processes carried out in the above industries and the age of some of the works constant repair and replacement of the asbestos was required, exposing workers to the dangers of asbestos continually.

Workers were generally unaware of the dangers of asbestos but employers continued to negligently expose their employees long after they did or should have known about the dangers of even low level asbestos exposure, effectively putting profit ahead of lives.

Asbestos continued to be used until the late 1990’s and there is still no requirement for removal. It is inevitable that sadly the deadly legacy of asbestos will likely continue into the future and the risk for industrial workers continues. Asbestos related conditions can develop from as soon as 10 years from initial exposure but generally are seen 30 to 50 years post exposure. It is frightening to consider that exposure to only one fibre of asbestos is needed to develop mesothelioma in the future. Currently in Wales there are around 100 mesothelioma diagnoses a year.

We assist large numbers of industrial workers in Wales such as fitters, engineers, welders and laggers who have been exposed to asbestos a number of years ago and have gone on to develop asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer and pleural thickening.

Hugh James are proud to represent and fight for the workers who built industry within Wales to obtain compensation reflecting the wrongdoing of their employers who negligently exposed them to asbestos.

Ceri Clark, Solicitor at Hugh James said:

We’re committed to helping the victims of asbestos related disease in Wales obtain justice against their negligent employers.

Our team provide support to workers and their families through securing compensation to pay for care and private treatment to applying for industrial benefits.

Author bio

Richard is a Partner and head of the asbestos litigation team. Richard specialises in asbestos-related disease claims and has recovered millions of pounds in compensation for his clients.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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