Jewson, the builders merchant chain, have joined forces with the Health and Safety Executive to help warn tradesmen of the dangers of asbestos.
Jewson branches around the country are backing the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign which was launched last month and aims to reduce the rising death rate from asbestos related disease by educating those in the trade about the danger that asbestos presents to them.
Figures issued by the Health and Safety Executive show that every week 20 tradesmen die from asbestos-related diseases, and this number is set to increase. In the East of England area, for example, there were a total of 2,440 asbestos related deaths between 1981 and 2005.
Kevin Crawley, Health & Safety Director at Jewson said:
“The risk of asbestos exposure has not gone away, and, with a network of 500 branches across the UK and regular contact with thousands of people in the trade every day, Jewson is ideally placed to help get the message out to those who are
likely to come into contact with the material.
“Asbestos represents a significant danger to those in the construction industry, which is why it is crucial that all those who operate within it are made aware of the associated dangers. We applaud the HSE’s Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign and we hope that it goes some way to reduce the number of fatalities that asbestos continues to cause.”
Paul Carter, HSE Principal Inspector in the East of England said: “We need to educate tradesmen about how asbestos and its dangers are relevant to them. We want them to change the way they work so that they don’t put their lives at risk.
“Research shows that many workers, particularly tradesmen, think that they are not personally at risk of exposure to asbestos and the diseases it can cause. They think that since asbestos was banned many years ago, the problem has been dealt with and therefore it is not relevant to them. The reality is very different.
“Asbestos presents a real and relevant risk to plumbers, joiners, electricians and many other maintenance workers. Asbestos may be present in any building constructed or refurbished before the year 2000, and it is estimated that around 500,000 non-domestic buildings could contain asbestos. These buildings all need repair and maintenance work from time to time and when the asbestos fibres are disturbed e.g. by drilling or cutting, they are likely to be inhaled as a deadly dust.”
Posters and radio adverts will encourage tradesmen to get a free asbestos information pack by calling 0845 345 0055 or by visiting http://www.hse.gov.uk/hiddenkiller for further information. The free information pack provides information on the dangers of asbestos, highlighting where asbestos-containing materials may be present in buildings, what they look like, how they should be dealt with and where to find training.