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HSE launches new asbestos campaign

HSE launches new asbestos campaign

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

As well as illustrating how often tradespeople can be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed that just under a third (30%) of those at risk were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working. More than half (57%) made at least one potentially lethal mistake in trying to identify how to stay safe.

Twenty tradespeople, on average, die every week from asbestos related diseases. To encourage tradespeople to think about asbestos on every job, HSE has launched a new safety campaign.

Mark Harper, Minister responsible for Health and Safety, launched the campaign at the TradePoint store in Cricklewood. TradePoint is supporting the campaign by distributing asbestos safety kits to tradespeople through their stores across Great Britain.

A key feature of the campaign is the creation of a new web app for phones, tablets and laptops that helps tradespeople easily identify where they could come into contact with the deadly material as they go about their day-to-day work and gives them tailored help on how to deal with the risks.

Mark Harper, Minister responsible for Health and Safety, said: “Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople. This safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves. We hope the safety kits and the web app will encourage people to be aware of the risks, think twice, and take precautions to stay safe.”

Construction union UCATT has welcomed the new campaign, but warned that workers have been denied advice for over four years due to government spending cuts.

Steve Murphy, UCATT’s General Secretary, said: “Any campaign that warns workers of the dangers of asbestos is welcome. The campaign needs to be as wide ranging as possible and should not be confined to one company distributing information. The Conservative led-Government’s penny pinching means that for the last four and a half years, thousands of workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos and their health put at risk.”

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