Why is there a risk of asbestos exposure for mechanics?

Those who have worked in small garages in the past may have been exposed to asbestos. It was the norm for car mechanics to replace the brake pads and clutches on vehicles in the 1960s and 1970s. What mechanics may not have known is that, from 1902, the brake drums, clutch housings and gaskets often contained asbestos.

Asbestos was used as friction material and heat resistance. It was used as a ‘wonder product’ at the time and only now the full horrors of exposure are becoming clear.

The type of asbestos used was Chrysotile (which was white in colour). Chrysotile and all types of asbestos were banned in 1985. The ban, as well as the introduction of front-wheel drive in the 1980s, meant that car manufacturers were forced to develop an alternative to asbestos. Cars manufactured in the UK from 2000 do not contain asbestos but “classic cars” could still contain asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos for mechanics occurred when they stripped down or repaired the brakes, which would have had an accumulation of asbestos dust within them.

A car alloy up-close with a blurred silhouette of a mechanic in the background

Over time, asbestos dust accumulates within the brake housing and when the mechanic strips down or repairs the brakes, they are inadvertently disturbing and releasing the minute asbestos fibres into the atmosphere. Mechanics often used an airline hose to blow the dust out and also sanded down the brake linings. Both activities would have released the minute asbestos fibres into the air which they could have both breathed in and got on their clothes.

The amount of asbestos found in vehicles was overall quite low but could still pose a potential asbestos risk for mechanics if they were regularly and consistently exposed. Asbestos fibres can lie around on surfaces dormant or hang in the air for a prolonged period. Mechanics may also have taken fibres home on their work clothes and exposed family members.

There are no safe levels of exposure to asbestos.

How Thompsons can support victims of asbestos exposure

If you have any questions or concerns regarding possible exposure to asbestos in the past or if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease please get in touch.

Thompsons was responsible for winning the first-ever successful asbestos disease litigation case in 1972 – helping to pave the way for those exposed and their families to secure redress and compensation ever since.

Having independent, expert advice from a specialist solicitor can make all the difference when seeking to trace those responsible for exposing workers to asbestos.

About Louise Larkin

Louise lives and works in Liverpool and has dealt with asbestos-related claims on behalf of the victims and their families for over 25 years.

Louise and a team of expert colleagues are relentless in their pursuit of compensation claims against employers and insurance companies for clients who suffer from asbestos-related diseases, securing millions of pounds in compensation on their behalf every year.

If you’d like free, no obligation advice please contact Louise Larkin of Thompsons Solicitors on 0151 224 1644 or by email louiselarkin@thompsons.law.co.uk.

If you choose to work with us, Thompsons Solicitors will support you through every step of your asbestos compensation claim, providing expert legal advice as well as access to a network of support services and medical professionals.