Tag Archives: asbestos exposure

No time to lose: IOSH launch major campaign to get the causes of occupational cancer better understood

IOSH has launched a major campaign to get the causes of occupational cancer better understood and help businesses take action. Phil Bates, senior policy and technical adviser at IOSH, sheds a light on this overlooked health threat and explains why IOSH is targeting five major causes.

No time to lose: IOSH launch major campaignAccording to HSE there were 148 in Britain in 2012/13, each one tragic and avoidable. This is, however, less than two per cent of the bigger picture – the total figure for work-related fatalities every year in Britain is some 12,000.

Workplace exposures leading to occupational illness are behind this breathtaking figure, and work-related cancers account for 8,000, according to HSE reports. Of these, half are contracted from exposure to the biggest work cancer killer, asbestos, with the other 4,000 down to exposures to other, lesser-known carcinogens.

IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign, launched on the 3rd of November, throws a spotlight on work cancer because it is the barely visible cause of an unbearably high number of deaths. It is barely visible broadly for two reasons – the literal invisibility of the carcinogens and the latency of their effects.

Some cancers are diagnosed up to 10 years after the sufferer has been exposed, often unknowingly, to a carcinogen at work. Others can take more than 35 years to develop.This is why it is wrong to assume cases of occupational cancer only occur when people have retired. Around a quarter of deaths and registrations from occupational cancer occur before the age of 65, with some losing their battle with the disease when still in their 30s. Others will be delivered a slower death sentence, with victims suffering an ever-shrinking quality of life at a time when they should be getting ready to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Read more

Government Review of Policy for Asbestos in Schools

We are pleased to have Michael Lees as our Guest Blogger of the month. Michael campaigns tirelessly to inform parents, teachers and support staff about asbestos in schools. His campaign website gives guidance on how to improve the management of asbestos in schools. It aims to encourage openness in the UK Government’s policy towards asbestos in schools.

Article by Michael Lees – September 2014 – http://www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk

Asbestos Exposure in Schools

The Government is presently undertaking a review of its asbestos policy for schools and its report is imminent. There are far reaching implications, both financially and for the future safety of children and staff in our schools. The review is a positive step forward. But if it is to fulfil its potential the Government must honestly and openly examine all the evidence. In particular they must reconsider their policy of leaving asbestos in place and managing it.

More than 75% of schools contain asbestos and most remains in place because of Government policy for schools that “Asbestos which is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed or damaged is better left in place and managed until the end of the life of the building as this presents less risk of exposure to the occupants than the process of removing it.”

However the school estate has not been properly maintained and is generally in a poor condition because of long term under funding. As the buildings have deteriorated then so has the asbestos. Of particular concern is AIB that is in places accessible to children. Over the years AIB panels lining corridors have been be hit by bags and bashed by boisterous pupils. AIB ceiling tiles in gyms have been hit by balls and panels under desks kicked by the pupil’s feet. Although the visible face may be painted, the reverse face is not, so each hit or kick will release amosite fibres to be inhaled by the occupants. Read more