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A Hidden Killer: The Dangers Of Asbestos In The Workplace

Asbestos has been used in the construction of buildings right up to the year 2000. Recent figures suggest there are around 500,000 buildings in the UK that contain asbestos. It was most extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950’s through to the mid 1980’s.

Asbestos remains the biggest occupational related killer in the UK responsible for an estimated 4500 deaths each year. Tradesmen, including joiners, electricians and plumbers, account for a quarter of those.

The facts, published by the Health and Safety Executive, speak for themselves and highlight the potential risks of asbestos. These risks include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and diffuse plural thickening – all lung-related diseases that can cause issues with breathing at the very least or, as is the all-too-frequent case, death.

Asbestos materials in good condition are safe unless asbestos fibres become airborne, which happens when materials are damaged.

How To Identify If Your Building Has Asbestos

If it was built or renovated before the year 2000 then there’s a good chance that asbestos could be present in your workplace or home. Asbestos was mixed with other materials to form an extensive array of building materials such as lagging to pipes and vessels, fire rated ceilings and cladding, roofing, floor tiles, decorative coatings (Artex), to name just a few.

Identification of asbestos should only be carried out by persons who have the relevant training and experience. A professional asbestos surveyor is able to make an accurate and informed judgement about the material, any potential risks and how to manage or remove the risk.

Contact A Professional

The fibres which are harmful become airborne when the asbestos is disturbed or if it’s condition has degraded over time. Something as small as a drawing pin pushed into asbestos insulating board could release up to 6,000 deadly fibres. If there’s a risk of disturbing asbestos do not proceed.

Often, work on asbestos materials must be carried out by HSE-licensed contractors. If you attempt to work on asbestos without seeking the correct advice you may be exposing yourself and others to harmful asbestos fibres as well as breaking the law.

Asbestos can pose a severe threat to any workers who come into contact with it, so always use a professional, such as IES. We specialise in providing asbestos removal services and asbestos surveys in Leicester and the surrounding area, so call us today on 0116 288 0000 for a professional quotation.

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