Asbestos warning for tradesmen

Tradesmen are being warned to beware of the dangers of asbestos in a new campaign from the Health and Safety Executive.

The national Asbestos: the Hidden Killer campaign has been particularly targeted in the north west, where four local authorities are included in the top 20 for male and female deaths from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.

The campaign follows research that highlighted that young tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians and joiners did not believe they were at risk from exposure.

Every week, 20 tradesmen die as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres during the course of their work.

"People regard asbestos as something only previous generations were exposed to," said Steve Coldrick, head of HSE's Disease Reduction Programme. "But it is still a present danger.

"Anyone working in a building built or refurbished before the year 2000 should be aware that it could contain asbestos and take the necessary precautions to work safely."

Relatives are also being targeted by the campaign in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers.

The HSE is urging wives and girlfriends to ask "What is the man in your life bringing home from work tonight?".

Mr Coldrick said: "Mothers, wives and girlfriends have an important part to play in raising awareness of this problem and encouraging their men to find out how to protect themselves from exposure to asbestos."

Every year 4,000 people nationally die of asbestos related diseases - more than the number killed in road traffic accidents.

Free information packs for tradesmen are available from the HSE by calling 0845 345 0055 or can be found here.

Kate Martin



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