Tradespeople across Great Britain are being warned about the hidden dangers associated with asbestos.
Around five thousand people a year die from asbestos related illnesses and asbestos can still be found in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000.
But HSE is warning despite the ban on its use, many buildings still contain asbestos, and it is still a serious risk to anyone exposed to it at any age.
Asbestos is only dangerous if not maintained in a safe condition or if physically disturbed without the right measures in place to control exposure to fibres.
When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. If these fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening. These diseases will not affect you immediately as they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.
It can take 20 to 30 years before symptoms appear. Symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent cough, wheezing, extreme tiredness, pain in your chest or shoulder and in more advanced cases, swollen fingertips.
If asbestos cannot be safely managed, it should be removed by a licensed asbestos contractor. Where present, asbestos should be closely managed by those responsible for the building.
Think you know enough to protect yourself and others from asbestos? Take this quiz on this page and find out: https://workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/asbestos/
Don't work with asbestos materials unless you have been trained and have appropriate controls in place. Get in touch today if you require UKATA Asbestos Awareness Training, Non-Licensed Training, or both.