On average, 5,000 workers die every year from asbestos related illnesses, making it one of the biggest causes of work deaths in the UK. Therefore, it’s no surprise to hear that asbestos is no longer used within the building industry.
Many building built before the year 2000 do contain asbestos and it’s usually found within fireproofing and insulation; meaning that workers still needs to be aware of the dangers of asbestos and how to work safety around the substance.
What Is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis is an extreme form of illness that can be caused by asbestos exposure. If asbestos is disturbed, then the fibres are released into the air and can easily be inhaled.
If you inhale the fibres, they can settled in the lungs, causing irritation and scarring known as fibrosis. This is irreversible and in extreme cases can lead to asbestosis, where the lungs shrink and breathing becomes difficult and painful.
Symptoms of asbestosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing
- Chest pains
Asbestosis typically takes over 20 years of asbestos exposure to form, and sadly can result in death. However over 1,000 cases are recorded in the UK every year, so it’s still a common illness for workers.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by continuous exposure to asbestos fibres. As with asbestosis, it is caused by asbestos fibres building up in the lungs and causing inflammation; however in this case the inflammation leads to the creation of tumours.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Asbestos?
Disposable PPE clothing and respirator masks can help to prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres. You should also try to keep your workspace dust free and ensure you wash your hands regularly to remove any fibres, as a basic prevention exercise.
It’s advised that anyone working closely with asbestos takes an Asbestos Awareness Course to fully understand the dangers of the substance and how to safely work with it. We have three on offer, which you can enrol on today and gain your instant qualification online: