The Importance of Asbestos Awareness

Whilst at the workplace, particularly in construction, there are many factors that need to be considered to ensure that everybody’s health and safety is assured. Asbestos in the workplace is a particularly important issue that requires diligence and proper awareness in order to manage the possible hazards it can cause.

A little history of asbestos

Believe it or not, Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with asbestos effects causing 4500 deaths per year. Several diseases caused by inhaling asbestos are often fatal, including lung cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening. Mesothelioma is a disease caused by inhaling large amounts of asbestos fibres, and is almost always fatal. In terms of general asbestos levels, the environment usually carries very low levels that we are used to inhaling on a daily basis, however in some environments, particularly near asbestos containing materials such as those damaged by construction, people are more at risk of developing an asbestos related disease. Asbestos related illness is caused by inhaling a large amount of asbestos fibres. In some environments, asbestos levels can be hundreds of times greater than those in the general, everyday environment. Asbestos fibres can be found in any house that was either constructed or subsequently refurbished before the year 2000, as it was popular in construction from the 1950s to this date.

Protecting yourself

For those dealing with large amounts of asbestos containing materials at the workplace, there are several precautions that can be put in place in order to protect yourself and those around you. If you can, refrain from using heavy power tools such as power drills to complete the job, these cause a lot of dust that can expose you to asbestos fibres. If you or anyone working with you causes dust or debris whilst working, always make sure you clean it up before you leave the very same day. There are also many ways to protect yourself whilst at the workplace in terms of uniform safety. Always wear protective equipment when working with or around asbestos, such as a face mask and gloves, as this will also help protect you against harmful fibres. After using the protective gear always dispose of it properly, never take it home with you, or reuse it for the same task. Finally, always wash yourself properly before leaving the workplace in order to ensure you do not take any fibres home with you, as this can cause harm to others.

Be aware, get trained

Above all, ensure that everyone at your workplace, including yourself, are properly trained in asbestos awareness. Taking an asbestos awareness course allows you to learn all the aspects of hazards caused by asbestos, and how to effectively protect yourself against them in the workplace. Ensure that you take an asbestos awareness course provided by a group of qualified consultants such as Natas. Natas is a company that specialise in providing effective asbestos awareness training and certification courses, as well as a range of other workplace related health and safety training courses, from construction to demolition. You can find asbestos awareness training at: www.natas.co.uk