Asbestos & You

6 July 2023

On 6 March 2023 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a new communications campaign, Asbestos & You, which will run for at least 2 years. The campaign is focusing on raising awareness of the risks associated with asbestos  and aims to support HSE’s work to reduce the overall number of tradespeople being exposed to asbestos, which will then lead to a decrease in the number of those becoming afflicted by, or dying from, asbestos-related diseases.

The campaign wants to engage with duty-holders and tradespeople to raise awareness of the risks posed to workers when materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, and fibres are released into the air, particularly among those who may not already know about the risks to their lung health from exposure to asbestos which can cause Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and Asbestos-related lung cancer.

This includes workers who started their careers after the use of asbestos was banned in 1999, such as those working in numerous trades including demolition, electrical fitters, plumbers, plasters, joiners, floor and wall covering, glazers, roofers, painters, and other construction work and building activities, there will be an initial focus on younger workers in these trades.

Despite being banned in the UK, asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK with over 5,000 asbestos-related deaths a year linked to past exposures.

Any job, any day of the week, can potentially release lethal asbestos fibres. It’s not like dust –  you can’t see, smell, or feel the fibres in the air or on your clothes.

Asbestos can be found in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000. Houses built in the fifties, sixties and seventies are very likely to include asbestos.

HSE has developed a series of guides, advice and links to guidance to ensure workers are aware of the dangers asbestos, these can be accessed via this link: Asbestos & You – Work Right to keep Britain safe

If you, or someone you know works in the construction industry, or works in any of the trades mentioned above, please share this information with them and make sure they have the information they need to protect their lung health.