A recent study by HSE has revealed twenty tradespeople are dying each week as a result of asbestos-related diseases.

The study, taken place in September 2014 by Censuswide on behalf of HSE, also shows that people in trades such as painting and decorating could still come into contact with the deadly substance over 100 times a year.

Worryingly, the research shows that only a third of the people surveyed were able to identify the correct safety measures for working with asbestos. On top of that, more than 50% made at least one mistake in identifying how to stay safe, a mistake that could cost a life.

Some common myths were also revealed by the survey, including people believing that drinking a glass of water or keeping a nearby window open will help protect them from asbestos.

Looking at the full findings of the survey, it is apparent that most people who come into contact with asbestos regularly do not know enough about it, and more importantly, do not know where it could be and how to deal with it. For example, only 15% of people surveyed knew that asbestos can still be found in buildings which were built up until 2000.

A new safety campaign has been launched by HSE and Health & Safety and TradePoint minister Mark Harper.

A main feature of the campaign is a new web application for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops which can help people to identify where they could come into contact with the deadly substance.

Speaking about the campaign, Mark Harper says it is about highlighting the risks of asbestos and the easy measures people can take to protect themselves and others. Harper said:

“The number dying every year from asbestos related-diseases is unacceptably high... Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople”

Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector for Construction, mirrored Harper’s comments and said:

"Our new campaign aims to help tradespeople understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe. Our new web app is designed for use on a job so workers can easily identify if they are likely to face danger and can then get straight forward advice to help them do the job safely.”

Former electrical consultant Simon Clark was diagnosed in 2012 with mesothelioma, after years of being in contact with the substance. He said:

“When I was younger I didn’t think of the dangers of asbestos and I must have been exposed to it frequently. Since being diagnosed, I’ve had to give up my work and let some of my employees go – which is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is vitally important that everybody knows when they might be exposed and takes the correct steps to protect themselves.”

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