Being exposed to asbestos as a construction worker is a huge concern, as unlike gaining an injury on site, with asbestos, it takes many years for any physical symptoms of the illness to show.
There are an increasing number of people being affected by asbestos exposure, with approximately 5000 cases of asbestos related illnesses being reported each year.
This figure is still increasing, even though the public are now more aware of the dangers of asbestos and more is being done to reduce the risks.
Someone who knows only too well about the dangers is Simon Clark.
He worked as an apprentice over 40 years ago.
He released a short film to share his story and to make others aware of the dangers of asbestos.
Simon explains in the video below that it took a good 35 to 40 years for any symptoms to manifest themselves following his apprenticeship all those years ago.
Asbestos exposure affects the lungs and leads to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural thickening and Mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is the most serious of the asbestos related diseases as there is currently no cure.
The disease takes hold rapidly, and life expectancy is very short once diagnosed.
Make sure you are aware of safety regulations
Any building constructed before the year 2000 will probably contain asbestos in some form or another.
Up until recent years, people were unaware of the dangers asbestos posed and the risks to their health.
Things have changed a little since then, and now the construction industry has taken measures to prevent or reduce exposure.
Nowadays, construction workers must undertake mandatory training to ensure they are aware of the dangers and know how to protect themselves.
It is also essential that Employers are aware of health and safety legislation.
If you don’t know already, here is what you as an Employer needs to know and how to protect your workers from asbestos:-
Make sure that staff and others who may enter the premises are made aware about the location of asbestos in the building(s).
Ensure your employees receive suitable training on asbestos awareness.
Ensure that control measures are put into place to manage exposure and provide your staff with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when required eg helmets, hoods, visors or any other forms of respiratory protective equipment).
Make arrangements for medical surveillance according to the policies and procedures.
Provide adequate supervision to ensure that the control measures are being used in the correct way.
Employees also need to be aware of safety procedures
But it’s not just employers that have responsibilities when it comes to asbestos. As an Employee, you too must take responsibility for yourselves and others around you. You must:-
Follow the rules and regulations that your employer has put in place for your safety.
Always wear the correct PPE you have been provided with.
If you think you have discovered some asbestos, leave the area at once and notify Management and your colleagues.
To find out more about asbestos-related illness, how to prevent it and how to protect your workers from asbestos, please visit: www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting http://www.armco.org.uk/