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CSCS supports HSE campaign to highlight the risk of asbestos to those working in trades

Published: March 7, 2023

Builders, carpenters, electricians, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, and roofers, are just some of the trades being urged to take the risks of asbestos seriously. That’s the message from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The workplace regulator has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with the dangerous substance. The campaign, called Asbestos and You, will target all tradespeople with a focus on younger workers in trades who have recent ly joined the industry.

HSE wants to reach construction workers who started their careers after the use of asbestos was banned by 1999. The regulator is concerned the length of time it takes for symptoms to develop after asbestos exposure could lead to a perception among today’s younger workers that it is something that only impacts older people who were working before the ban.

Five thousand people a year still die from asbestos related illnesses and asbestos can still be found in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000. Asbestos containing materials were used extensively in the construction and maintenance of buildings in Great Britain from the 1950s until they were banned.

That means construction workers of all ages could still be exposed to asbestos fibres today.

HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon said: “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.

More information about the HSE campaign can be found at: Asbestos & You Work Right to keep Britain safe