September 12, 2018 – The Ministry of Defence (MOD) are currently making a thorough investigation into whether some sea king helicopters contain asbestos.
Veterans may have seen media reports about asbestos being found in some sea King helicopters. The MOD is undertaking a thorough investigation of this and any advice to veterans will be published here when available. In the meantime, the following information may be useful.
- asbestos is fire resistant and was widely used in the 20th century as an insulating material in boilers, pipework etc and notably in building construction
- asbestos exposure can relate to occupation, but there are many other sources in the environment
- contact with asbestos does not produce acute symptoms but over time, typically many years, a variety of chest conditions may develop, dependent on the type of asbestos, and the level and duration of exposure
- information about medical conditions related to asbestos exposure can be found on the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asbestosis/and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mesothelioma/
- the War Disablement Pension and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme both make provision for any illness or injury caused by service in HM Armed Forces. Awards are not made for exposure, but for an injury or disorder including asbestos related conditions
- further details on how to make a claim under the War Pensions Scheme, and regarding the conditions and applicable dates, are available via the Veterans UK War Pensions page
- welfare support for veterans, including home visits where needed, is also available from the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service
- should you wish to pursue a common law claim for damages, regardless if you are a civilian/contractor or service/ex-service personnel, you may wish to seek legal advice on the merits of such a claim.
Offical RN photo