It’s National Asbestos Awareness Week! The week was kicked off with a 3-day international conference held in Los Angeles, CA.
Asbestos awareness, however, should be an on-going part of any tradesperson’s daily life. With that in mind, note that the HSE Asbestos Regulations change as of 1st April, 2012.
If you’ve not yet registered for a free asbestos-awareness training course – there’s still time!
Find one in your area.
Why should you consider an asbestos-awareness course?
In the UK, it is illegal to remove asbestos-containing materials without a license. You can read about a few examples of some of the legal issues associated with asbestos disruption and exposure here and here.
Legal concerns are not the only (nor the most important) reason to take an asbestos-awareness course. What may seem like brief or insignificant exposure to asbestos fibres can actually cause irreparable damage to your health. It is the leading cause of mesothelioma; a form of cancer that cannot be reversed.
Take a moment to read about the experiences of these electricians, joiners, plumbers and other tradesmen who all worked with asbestos materials at some point in their careers. Though asbestos is no longer used in new structures, buildings erected up until the year 2000 may contain asbestos, so the risk of exposure is still very much present for younger tradespeople. “This isn’t just an old man’s story”:
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material used primarily as fire-proofing and insulation in most buildings erected or renovated between the 1950s and 1980s, though any building erected before the year 2000 could contain some form of asbestos.
If left undisturbed, asbestos is harmless. It is only when moved or damaged that fibres are released into the air. Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, it’s not easy to spot. It can be found in a number of places, including:
Ceiling and floor tiles
Cement roof sheeting