Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launches new asbestos safety campaign

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launches new safety campaign as an average of 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos related diseases

A new survey commissioned by the HSE has identified that tradespeople could come into contact with deadly asbestos on average more than 100 times a year.

As well as illustrating how often tradespeople can be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed some common myths believed by those at risk, with 14 per cent of respondents believing that drinking a glass of water would help protect them from the deadly dust and 27 per cent of those asked thinking that opening a window would help to keep them safe.

Equally worrying, only 30 per cent of those surveyed were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working, while 57 per cent made at least one potentially lethal mistake in trying to identify how to stay safe.

A key feature of the campaign is the creation of an app for phones, tablets and laptops that should help workers to identify where they could come into contact with the deadly material as they go about their day-to-day work and give them tailored advice on how to deal with the risks. The app can be found at www.beware-asbestos.info

Mark Harper, Minister responsible for health and safety, said “Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople. This safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves.”

Construction union UCATT welcomed the HSE initiative but regretted that there had been a four year gap between this initiative and the axing of the previous ‘Hidden Killer’ publicity campaign.

John Evans, Technical Director of Santia’s asbestos division said “The findings of this survey highlight just how vital it is that workers who may disturb asbestos receive comprehensive training on where asbestos may be found and the actions needed to keep them safe.”

Post date: 29 Oct 2014

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