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HSE campaign for 1.3m workers at risk from asbestos

Tradespeople – including construction workers, carpenters and painters and decorators – could come into contact with deadly asbestos more than 100 times per year, according to a survey commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Safer sitesAs well as illustrating how often tradespeople could be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed some common myths believed by those at risk. One person in seven (14%) believed drinking a glass of water would protect them, and one in four (27%) thought opening a window would keep them safe.

Only a third (30%) of respondents were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working, while more than half (57%) made at least one potentially lethal mistake when trying to identify how to stay safe.

On average, 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos can be found in walls and ceilings, or the structure of a building, as well as a host of other places including floor tiles, boilers, toilet cisterns, guttering and soffits.

It can be disturbed by basic maintenance work such drilling holes and sanding, and once disturbed the microscopic fibres can cause potentially lethal lung disease and cancer. Read more