September 27 2013

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) is this week launching ‘Take 5 and Stay Alive’, a major campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos amongst tradespeople.

Although it is now illegal to use asbestos, this ban was only imposed in 2000 – meaning any building built or renovated before then could contain asbestos. Further HSE research shows that there is a worrying lack of information and training amongst small employers and sole traders, with workers not seeing it as a big risk or worrying about losing jobs and money if they raise concerns, and not knowing how to identify asbestos and what to do if they find it.

When disturbed and inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause a range of illnesses, including the terminal chest cancer mesothelioma. The tiny invisible particles stick to clothes, meaning that as well as risking their own lives, workers can be unknowingly putting their family members, colleagues and friends at risk.

The BLF’s Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign aims to ensure tradespeople have the knowledge to act safely and responsibly, ensuring they can identify asbestos and determine what type it is, and assess whether they have the training and equipment to deal with it safely.