Posted: 01.08.19 at 11:49 by The Editor
Grantham law firm JMP Solicitors has revealed the five key signs which show workers are at risk of asbestos poisoning.
New statistics highlight that the death toll from asbestos is now at 'crisis level' in Britain. The Health and Safety Executive has reported 2,709 deaths by industrial disease in England and Wales last year - a 44% rise on the first recorded figures in 1995.
Asbestos was used as insuluation in many old buildings and, although it has often been removed, the effects of poisoning can take a long time to develop. They include everything from fibrotic lung disease such a asbestosis to lung cancer.
Neil McKinley, personal injury solicitor at JMP Solicitors, specialises in industrial disease cases including asbestos related conditions. He explained: “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), no amount of asbestos exposure is safe and even the smallest amount can prove detrimental to health.
“Workplace risk assessments need to be completed to avoid employees having contact with toxic asbestos fibres, as inhaling asbestos dust can cause a number of severe lung conditions, which in extreme cases, can further develop into cancer.
“For those working within an industry where exposure has been or is still possible, extreme precaution is vital.’’
Here are the five signs that you are at risk of asbestos poisoning at work:
Nature of occupation
Certain occupations mean employees are more likely to be exposed to toxic dust. Workers in construction, shipyards and factories are among those facing a higher possibility of being exposed to asbestos. Professions with no permanent place of work, such as electricians, firefighters and auto mechanics, are also likely to find themselves at risk as they work in so many different environments.
Age of the building
The peak period for asbestos installation was before 1970, with asbestos being fully banned in 1999. If you have been working in a building built before then, it may be worth getting a check-up and calling for the environment to be checked for asbestos if it hasn’t been already. Those who have worked in the building and construction industries, particularly in the 1970s to late 90s, are at a higher risk of having encountered asbestos.
Working with asbestos-containing materials
Asbestos is dangerous even in the smallest amounts - if material containing the asbestos fibres is chipped, drilled or broken, it can release a fine dust. If working with such materials, it is essential to have been made aware of this fact to ensure you take care in not touching or breaking the asbestos. In addition, taking showers before returning home is essential to avoid endangering family members.
Inadequate protection by employers
Your employer has a duty of care in protecting you against harmful substances and ensuring your safety in the workplace. All employees should have been provided with safety equipment and also thorough instructions, information and training or it puts you at a higher risk of asbestos-related illness, especially when occupations involve working closely with asbestos.
Working near contaminated job sites
Although you may not be working on a live asbestos site, you may be within close proximity of one. It is important that your employer outlines the risk of working near sites that may contain the toxic fibre to prevent your and those around you from poisoning. Asbestos remains in the air for hours, putting anyone nearby in danger of inhaling or ingesting it so it is vital to be aware of your surrounding working environment.