Twenty tradespeople die in the UK each week from work-related asbestos exposure – far more than those who die through accidents at work.
Asbestos-related diseases claim over 100,000 lives around the world every year, and it is estimated the material will have caused 10 million deaths before it’s use is fully controlled.
Despite knowing of its fatal dangers since the late 1800s, asbestos was used prolifically by industry until it was banned in the UK, in 1999. Exposure to asbestos is now one of the biggest contributors to occupational cancer, leaving construction workers at greatest risk of its deadly legacy.
Dr Jukka Takala, from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore and President of the International Commission on Occupational Health, said “Latest estimates suggest as many as a quarter of a million lives may be lost every year to the work-related effects of exposure to asbestos.”
No Time To Lose
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) vice president, Jonathan Hughes, will present the No Time to Lose (NTTL) asbestos campaign to constructors attending the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS): Image of Construction event at CodeNode in London on 11 September.
IOSH launched the asbestos phase of the NTTL campaign earlier this year. CCS is a supporter of the NTTL campaign and is committed to help raise awareness of the risks of asbestos exposure in the construction industry.
Edward Hardy, CCS Chief Executive, said: “Anything that is done to help raise awareness of occupational cancers and the effective prevention programmes that can be introduced by employers will only improve the wellbeing of all involved.
“The construction industry is a dynamic and evolving sector and we must do all we can not only to make our working practices ever safer, but also to improve the health and wellbeing of all those who work in our industry.
“Through the monitoring of the 8,000-plus sites currently registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, we will continue to raise awareness of initiatives such as this, as ultimately this can only lead to a far greater understanding of how we can best care for our workforce.”
To find out more about IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign and to get free resources to prevent exposure to asbestos, silica dust and diesel engine exhaust emissions, go to the No Time To Lose website.
See more information about the Image of Construction event.