Tradespeople could be coming into contact with the potentially fatal asbestos chemical more than 100 times each year, new figures show.
According to HSE, around 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos related diseases. The survey also illustrated common myths believed by those who are most at risk, which include: 14% believing that drinking a glass of water will protect them from contaminated dust and 25% think that opening a window is an appropriate safety measure.
Encouraging perpetual safety measures
In light of the survey, the HSE have committed to providing safety measure to tradespeople with a new web application Beware Asbestos, which is programmed to work on phones, tablets and laptops.
The free app offers tradespeople a series of multiple-choice questions about the type of building they are currently working on; the job they are doing and the materials they are working on.
The app will then offer suggestions based on the risk presented in their answers, such as to stop working and get a licensed asbestos contractor.
Helping tradespeople identify risk
The survey also highlighted that tradespeople lack confidence when it comes to dealing with asbestos. Only around half of the construction and painting and decorating sectors feel that they are able to protect themselves from the risk of asbestos.
Confidence was a considerable amount higher in the plumbing, carpentry and joinery sectors with around 70% having a fair idea of how to reduce risk.
The campaign will also involve distributing 200,000 asbestos safety kits via TradePoint stores across Britain.
The kits will contain a pair of Type 5 disposable overalls and information to help tradespeople identify how they can reduce the risks when coming into contact with asbestos.
Asbestos related diseases
Even basic maintenance can disturb asbestos and once the microscopic fibres become airborne, breathing them in can be potentially fatal causing lung disease and cancer.
Only a third of those who participated in the survey were able to identify all the correct measures to safely work with asbestos. A further 57% made at least on potentially mortal mistake.
Chief inspector for construction at HSE, Philip White, said: “Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that people who come into contact with it regularly often don’t know where it could be an worryingly don’t know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm’s way.
“Our new campaign aims to help tradespeople understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe.”
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