Although it may look rather harmless, asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that kills approximately 5,000 workers every year making it one of the biggest causes of worker death in the UK.
Even though asbestos has been banned from use in the building industry, it is still present in older buildings where it was used for fireproofing and insulation so it is still a major concern for workers.
In fact, over 50% of British buildings still contain asbestos – 75% of which are schools – so it’s important that you understand the risks and the precautions you need to put in place should you encounter the substance.
When asbestos is disturbed, which occurs mainly within the construction industry, it releases fibres into the air that can be easily inhaled by anyone in the surrounding area.
Once taken into the body, the asbestos fibres can get lodged deep in the lungs and, over a fair amount of time, build up to cause irritation and scarring known as fibrosis.
This deadly damage to one’s health is irreversible and can lead to a lung condition known as asbestosis which is caused by the shrinking and hardening of the lungs, making it extremely difficult to breath.
Other symptoms of asbestosis include persistent coughing, chest pains and fatigue all of which can eventually result in death.
There are over 1,000 cases of this condition reported every year!
Another health condition triggered by the continued exposure to asbestos is a cancer called mesothelioma.
This is caused by the same build-up of fibres in the lungs getting embedded in the lining and resulting in inflammation that eventually forms tumours.
Though it is still perceived as a rare form of cancer, it is unfortunately becoming more and more common each year, and, like asbestosis, typically results in death.
It’s five times more common in men than women, and 50% of cases are diagnosed in those aged 75 and over, most probably because it’s an illness that builds up over a long period of time and years of exposure to asbestos.
It is the painful and unforgiving illnesses, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, that make asbestos such a dangerous substance which is why we provide and encourage comprehensive online asbestos awareness training for all workers at risk of exposure.
By completing a comprehensive training course, you can ensure that you’re aware of all the dangers surrounding asbestos, the safety precautions you must put in place and emergency procedures.