Twenty builders a week die from Asbestos

9th October 2014

Twenty tradespeople die every week from asbestos related diseases as an HSE survey revealed the full extent of construction workers’ exposure to the deadly material.

The survey showed carpenters , painters and decorators could still come into contact with asbestos on average more than 100 times a year. The survey also revealed some common myths believed by those at risk with:

One in seven believing that drinking a glass of water will help protect them from the deadly dust and one in four thinking that opening a window will help to keep them safe.

Only a third of those asked were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working while more than half made at least one potentially lethal mistake in trying to identify how to stay safe.

Figures show that twenty tradespeople on average die every week from asbestos related diseases.

The research, undertaken by Censuswide in September 2014, shows that while more than half knew that asbestos could be in old buildings built before 1970, only 15% know that it could still be found in buildings built up to the year 2000.

HSE launched a new safety campaign with Mark Harper, Minister responsible for Health and Safety and TradePoint. A key feature of the campaign is the creation of a new web app for phones, tablets and laptops that helps tradespeople easily identify where they could come into contact with the deadly material as they go about their day-to-day work.

Harper said: “The number dying every year from asbestos related-diseases is unacceptably high. Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople. The safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves. We hope that safety kits and the web app will encourage people to be aware of the risks, think twice, and take precautions to stay safe”.