Asbestos didn’t disappear when its use was banned: it can still be found throughout domestic and commercial properties. In 1931, the UK introduced the first law on asbestos. And it wasn’t completely banned as a building material until 1999. In some parts of the world, it’s still used as a building material today. Worldwide, around 125 Million people are exposed to Asbestos at work, claiming over 100,000 lives a year. In Britain alone, around 5,000 people a year die from an asbestos-related cancer. The time lag between asbestos exposure and developing asbestos-related diseases can be up to 40 years – so exposure today could be a death sentence in years to come, depending on duration and concentration of exposure, and on biological susceptibility of the individual.
This February, Aarsleff Ground Engineering & Centrum Pile are supporting IOSH’s ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign, by raising awareness across the organisation.
The campaign is working to:
- Raise awareness of a significant health issue facing workers in the UK and internationally
- Suggest some solutions on a UK scale to tackle the problem – a national model that can be transposed internationally
- Offer free practical, original materials to businesses to help them deliver effective prevention programmes.
Identifying symptoms early can mean that treatment is more effective.
Warning signs to look out for include:
- a persistent cough
- a cough you have had for a while that gets worse
- coughing up phlegm with traces of blood
- an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- loss of appetite or unexpected weight loss
What is Asbestos?
- Asbestos is the name used for a group of naturally occurring minerals that have been used in many products.
- It is used to strengthen materials and provide fire and chemical resistance.
- Asbestos was usually mixed with other substances to create different asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), but was also used on its own.
- Respirable asbestos fibres are invisible to the naked eye. When breathed in they can become stuck in the lungs. Over time, this can cause serious illnesses, including fatal cancers.
- There are several types of asbestos. The most commonly used types were chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Less commonly used were anthophyllite, actinolite and tremolite. Blue and brown asbestos are the most harmful, but white asbestos also causes asbestos-related disease.
Where can Asbestos be found?
What do I do if I accidentally damage ‘Asbestos–containing’ material and it releases dust?
- Stop Work Immediately
- Move everyone away and ensure nobody enters the area
- Do not remove Equipment or Materials
- Close, Seal or Lock off the area
- Put up Warning Signs
- Report it to your Employer
To find out more visit www.notimetolose.org.uk