The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) have launched a new campaign in the hope of reducing disease and deaths from occupational carcinogens. They are currently focusing on the terrible impact of asbestos, amongst other carcinogens.

Almost one in four construction workers in the UK believe that they have been exposed to asbestos during their working life. With potentially half a million buildings in the UK containing asbestos, this is not surprising.

Worrying results from an IOSH survey

The IOSH carried out a survey of 500 construction workers to see how much they know about deadly asbestos. The results are very worrying.

A third of those surveyed stated that they had never checked the asbestos register before starting work on a site. Even more alarmingly, one in five said if they found asbestos on site they would not be clear on what they should do about it.

Where can asbestos be found?

• Lagging
• Insulation boards
• Asbestos yarns
• Spray coatings
• Fibre cement
• Floor tiles
• Gaskets
• Bitumen felts
• Asbestos millboard and papers
• Textured coatings and paints
• Reinforced plastics
• Mastics, sealants, putties and adhesives

The IOSH survey results are extremely concerning – although people have heard of asbestos and the horrific effects it can have on health – they do not know how to check if asbestos present and are unaware of what to do if they find it.

Preventing mesothelioma

The only way to ensure workers are not put at risk of developing mesothelioma, is to stop them from being exposed to asbestos. That requires all construction workers to be educated fully on the dangers of asbestos.

What should you do if you damage asbestos-containing material?

• Stop work immediately
• Move everyone away from the area – do not let anyone enter the area
• Do not move any equipment, tools or materials from the area – they could be contaminated
• Close, seal off or lock the area
• Put up warning signs
• Report it to your employer
• Get a licenced professional in to safely clean up

It is clear from these results that more training and awareness of asbestos and the correct procedures for working with it is required. The IOSH hopes that their campaign will help. IOSH president, Craig Foyle said; “It is unacceptable for anyone in any workplace to be exposed to asbestos. Clearly, though, people are being exposed to it. In the decades to come, it is likely that these people and their families will still be suffering unless we all do something about it.”

For more information about the IOSH campaign please visit

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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