A lack of awareness from plumbers and heating engineers to the dangers of asbestos has been exposed by a new survey. Commissioned by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the new survey illustrates how often tradespeople can be exposed to asbestos as well as revealing some of the common myths believed by those most at risk. A new safety campaign has been launched by the HSE, encouraging tradespeople to visit a new asbestos safety web app. The free Beware Asbestos web app, for phones, tablets and laptops lead tradespeople through a list of simple multiple-choice questions about the type of building they are working on, the job they are doing and the type of asbestos containing material they are working on. Philip White, HSE’s chief inspector for construction “Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that the people who come into contact with it regularly often don’t know where it could be and worryingly don’t know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm’s way."Back to Insights
Dangers of AsbestosWhen materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious disease.
- Asbestosis, a serious, chronic, non-cancerous respiratory disease. Inhaled asbestos fibres aggravate lung tissues, which cause them to scar.
- Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost always fatal.
- Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as smoking related cancer. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.
- Pleural thickening occurs as a result of heavy asbestos exosure.The lining of the lung thickens and swells. This can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.