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Risk news

Young workers given asbestos warning

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) believes that many young workers do not understand the huge dangers posed by asbestos.

Although the construction material has been banned for more than a decade in the UK, many buildings that were erected before 2000 are likely to contain the substance.

It has been commonly used in the trade since the 1950s, when there was very little information on the massive health problems it can cause.

Around 4,000 people die every year in Great Britain because of asbestos-related diseases and the HSE thinks that 1.8 million tradespeople are still at risk of exposure to the material.

The HSE has launched an event in Clydebank aimed at raising awareness of the regulator's e-learning package that teaches youngsters about asbestos and the severe conditions it can lead to.

It has been jointly organised by Clydebank College, the Federation of Master Builders and the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives and is predominantly targeted at apprentices who may not have been in the construction industry for long.

"This event continues HSE's drive to tackle ignorance about Britain's biggest industrial killer," commented HSE principal inspector Archie Mitchell.

"Many young tradespeople believe that, because asbestos is no longer used in buildings, it's no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn't true."

The HSE continues to take a hard line against companies that are found guilty of breaching Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Earlier this month, it fined a Birmingham builder £4,000 after the individual was discovered to have removed asbestos from a property in Castle Bromwich illegally.

All work that may involve asbestos needs to be thoroughly planned and, in some cases, only licensed organisations are permitted to handle the substance.

In this particular incident, the man was taking out asbestos insulation boards, which should not be touched by unaccredited workers.

The fibres and dust that derive from these boards can cause a number of life-threatening lung diseases if they are inhaled.ADNFCR-2134-ID-801543610-ADNFCR

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