HSE Launch New Campaign – Asbestos & You

HSE Launch New Campaign – ‘Asbestos & You’

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have launched a new campaign on Monday 6th March called ‘Asbestos & You’. The campaign is to raise awareness of the risks associated with the dangerous substance that is known as asbestos.
The information within this article has been taken from the ‘HSE’ and ‘Work Right’ websites. 

The latest campaign targets all tradespeople but has a focus on younger workers in trades such as plastering and joinery, workers in industries such as these are being urged to take the risk of asbestos much more seriously. The HSE are aiming to reach construction workers who started their careers after the use of asbestos was banned in 1999. One of the main concerns the regulator has is the length of time it takes for symptoms to develop after exposure to asbestos which could have led to an assumption that it is only something that impacts older people who were working before the ban.

Asbestos and You: raising awareness amongst young tradespeople

Asbestos containing materials were used extensively in the construction and maintenance of buildings in Great Britain from the 1950s until the ban was bought in 1999 meaning construction workers of all ages could still be exposed to asbestos fibers today.

Shockingly, 5,000 people a year still die from asbestos-related illnesses and asbestos can still be found in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000.

HSE Comments
Both Sarah Albon – HSE Chief Executive and Mike Calcutt – HSE Head of Health and Work Policy both commented on the latest campaign highlighting the importance of all those working in construction, whatever age, must take the risk of asbestos seriously.

Sarah Albon – HSE Chief Executive 
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“Asbestos exposure in Great Britain is still the single greatest cause of work-related deaths.  We are committed to protecting people in the workplace and reducing future work-related ill health.

“Everyone working in construction today, of any age, must take the risk from asbestos seriously.

“Asbestos is dangerous when not maintained in a safe condition or if physically disturbed without the right measures in place to avoid fibres being released into the air.”

If asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening. Construction tradespeople of any age are at significant risk if they disturb materials containing asbestos during repairs and refurbishment.

Mike Calcutt – HSE’s Head of Health and Work Policy
HSE’s head of health and work policy Mike Calcutt said: “These diseases often take a long time to develop, and it can take 20 to 30 years for symptoms to appear.

“It is crucial that all workers know how to recognise the dangers and take the right actions to protect themselves and those around them from being exposed to asbestos fibres.”
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For more information on the latest HSE campaign ‘Asbestos & You’ click the link below.