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Asbestos & You - New HSE Campaign

Despite being banned by 1999, 5,000 people a year still die from asbestos related diseases due to the decades delay between exposure and the symptoms of disease appearing.


Asbestos didn’t disappear when it was banned in the UK and we know that it remains in millions of homes and buildings.

Asbestos exposure is still the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in Great Britain with those carrying out repairs or refurbishment work being at a higher risk of disturbing asbestos, especially when working in houses.

Builders, carpenters, electricians, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, and roofers, are just some of the trades being urged to take the risks of asbestos seriously.

The campaign, called ‘Asbestos and You,’ will target all tradespeople with a focus on younger workers in trades who have recently joined the industry. HSE particularly wants to reach those who started their careers from the year 2000, after the use of asbestos was banned so they know the risk still remains.


Key facts:

  • Asbestos containing materials were used extensively in the construction and maintenance of buildings from the 1950s – 2000

  • 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

  • These diseases often take a long time to develop, and it can take 20 to 30 years for symptoms to appear

  • Construction tradespeople of any age are at significant risk if they disturb materials containing asbestos during repairs and refurbishment

  • Where it can’t be maintained safely in place, it must be removed.


Find out more

Visit the HSE ‘Asbestos & You’ campaign website for more information about the campaign and how you can support it. You’ll also be able to download a new ‘quick guide for trades’.

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