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Asbestos is the greatest cause of work-related deaths

11 January 2024

As a UK employer, protecting the safety of your workers is more than just a legal obligation. With more and more companies investing in the safety of their workforces (including enrolling their trainers on our workplace safety train the trainer courses), the rate of injury and illness at work is a downward trend. But every work-related illness, injury or fatality is one too many.

When it comes to work-related deaths, asbestos remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently refreshed its guidance on asbestos and asbestos related safety procedures. In this blog post, we share exactly what UK employers need to know about the dangers of asbestos in the modern-day workplace.

How many people are affected annually?

According to the latest guidance, approximately 5,000 people in Great Britain die every year from asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Due to the nature of asbestos, asbestos-related diseases take decades to develop and cannot be cured. Asbestosis for instance can take around 20 to 30 years after exposure to asbestos containing materials before symptoms become apparent.

Why are people still at risk?

While the use of asbestos and asbestos containing materials is no longer permitted, their use in the 1950s to 1990s was particularly widespread, especially in the construction industry. As a result, people are still exposed to the dangers of asbestos today.

Those completing work likely to disturb asbestos (including refurbishment, retrofitting, demolition and installation) or people working in buildings containing asbestos are most at risk.

Who is responsible for asbestos safety?

Identifying whether asbestos is present and its condition can only be undertaken via specialist survey and analysis. If asbestos is identified, the building owner or landlord responsible must prepare a detailed asbestos management plan, which should be reviewed annually.

If you are an employer of anyone likely to disturb asbestos, you also have a responsible to safeguard your workers.

Should I enrol on an asbestos awareness training course?

Trainers looking to raise awareness of asbestos risk and safety should complete our Asbestos Awareness Train the Trainer course. Suitable for beginners to experienced practitioners, this two-day course covers several areas, including the latest asbestos regulations, types of asbestos and health effects of exposure to protect workers across numerous industry sectors.

To find out more about our asbestos awareness training or to enquire about upcoming course dates, please contact our team today.

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