The Health and Safety Executive has launched safety campaign after new research found tradespeople, including construction workers, carpenters and painters and decorators, could come into contact with deadly 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 (14%) believing that drinking a glass of water will help protect them from the deadly dust and one in four (27%) thinking that opening a window will help to keep them safe.
Only a third (30%) of those asked were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working, whilst more than half (57%) made at least one potentially lethal mistake in trying to identify how to stay safe.
Asbestos can be found in walls and ceilings, or the structure of a building, as well as a host of other places like floor tiles, boilers, toilet cisterns, guttering and soffits.
It can be disturbed by basic maintenance work like drilling holes and sanding and once disturbed, the microscopic fibres can prove lethal if breathed in, causing lung disease and cancer.
“Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that the people who come into contact with it regularly often don’t know where it could be and worryingly don’t know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm’s way,” said Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector for Construction. “Our new campaign aims to help tradespeople understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe.”
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