All types of asbestos cause cancer in humans. The problem with this disease is that it takes years to develop, so that although the presence of asbestos is reduced or eliminated, cases are now referring to the relationship with asbestos many years ago.
In Spain the use of this material was limited in 1984 and 1993 but definitely not banned until 2001. Given its harmful effects, the current legal framework is primarily concerned with the protection of the health of workers exposed to asbestos dust.
From the legal standpoint, diverse actions can be performed by the affected employees:
- When the patient is in a state of permanent disability, should have to analyze the possibility of requesting a review by aggravation, in order to achieve a higher degree of disability and thus obtain a higher pension amount.
As this is an occupational disease, even if the worker is a pensioner retirement it is possible to request a permanent disability pension and if it is granted opt for the most favourable economically.
- Employees with recognized disability have the option to request before the National Institute of Social Security an extra charge in their benefits due to lack of security measures that can range between 30 and 50% of disability, depending on the severity of the lack of security measures under article 123 of the Social Security Law.
- Compensation Claim for Damages against the company, bearing in mind that there could be also liability of leading enterprises when it comes to contractors.
- Another way is the Claim of Liability against the Government which had a duty to ensure that the relevant legislation is applied effectively in business and unfortunately not adequately controlled.
The Regulatory Frame for asbestos.
As a general framework, the Explanatory Memorandum of Law 31/1995 of 8 November on Prevention of Occupational Risks, begins by stating that the primary objective of Rule is the development and fulfillment of the constitutional mandate contained in Article 40.2 of the Constitution , which instructs Public authorities to ensure the Safety and Health at work and ends up concluding that this provision, along with commitments arising from EU membership, sets the necessary basic support of guarantees and responsibilities to establish an appropriate level of health protection of workers against the risks of working conditions in the context of a coherent, coordinated and effective.
The adoption of the European Directive 2003/18/EC, modified the existing regulations and forced to adapt Spanish legislation in this area.
This adjustment has been reflected as “Real Decreto 396/2006 of March 31”, laying down minimum safety and health requirements for work with asbestos exposure risk. Points of interest in this new legislation:
Scope of application of RD 396/2006 (Art. 3):
-Operations and activities in which workers are exposed or are likely to be exposed to asbestos fibers or materials containing.
Evaluation and monitoring of the work environment (Art. 5)
-Measurement of the concentration of asbestos fibers in the air of the workplace and its comparison with the limit value, repeated periodically.
Exposure limits (Art. 4.1)
-Employers shall ensure that no worker is exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos in the air above the environmental limit daily exposure (TWA) of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter measured as a weighted average over time for a period of eight hours.
More information and help in UK about Asbestos: www.nationalasbestos.co.uk
If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
David Lorenzo-Spanish Lawyer UK
Foreign Law | Birchall Blackburn
www.birchallblackburn.co.uk www.spanishpropertiesintheuk.co.uk www.spanishlawintheuk.co.uk