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Former shipyard worker’s warning to today’s young tradespeople about asbestos

James Queen, 74, worked as a shipwright in Liverpool and Glasgow where he was exposed to asbestos. Last year he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

A former shipyard worker is warning young tradespeople of the dangers of asbestos after losing around a third of his body weight since being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Asbestos-related diseases take decades to develop – most people living with them today will have been exposed well before the tightening of controls and the use of asbestos was banned in 1999. However, around five thousand people a year die from asbestos related illnesses.

The current regulations have led to a significant reduction in exposure and the number of people developing asbestos-related illness is predicted to fall as we get further from the date asbestos was banned. The current regulations state that where asbestos is present in buildings it must be managed, maintained in a good condition, and stay undisturbed. If this level of protection cannot be achieved, then asbestos must be removed.

James said: “People just don’t know about mesothelioma and at the time if I knew asbestos was so bad for your health, I’d have never worked with it or around it. Younger tradespeople need to be alert to the danger it poses.”

Every employer must make sure that anyone who is liable to disturb asbestos during their normal work, or who supervises those employees, gets the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others.

Don't hesitate to get in contact if you require UKATA Asbestos Training. We offer classroom based training, on-site training, and online eLearning:

01782 438813

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