Former, Nottingham Forest, West Ham, Newcastle United and England football start Stuart Pearce has amplified his concerns about the dangers of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
Pearce, who was relieved of his duties as manager of Nottingham Forest at the weekend has revealed that he came into contact with asbestos in his pre-football life when working as an electrician.
The England legend, renowned for his famous celebrations after smashing home successful penalties during England’s Euro 96 campaign as well as his no nonsense tackling, worries that he may need to face tackling an altogether different challenge in the future following his 4 year period of work as an electrician during the 1980’s.
The former Manchester City and England under 21’s manager is now backing an asbestos awareness, safety campaign from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)which encourages all trades people to be aware of the dangers of asbestos and to take protective measures to ensure their own safety. He feels that his own ignorance of the dangers could lead to him suffering with an asbestos related disease in the future.
Whilst the introduction of governmental legislation has gone some way to protecting workers from asbestos exposure, this remains a very live danger to tradesmen, industrial workers, teachers and students to this day.
The HSE has estimates that 1.3 million tradespeople are still potentially at risk of exposure to the deadly dust in the workplace alone. This does not take into account the legacy of asbestos within our schools and universities.
Pearce is quoted as having said:
“I was working as an electrician for four and a half years and it’s chilling to think I could have been exposed to it without knowing, we were simply ignorant about the risks back then.”
“Today there’s no excuse – most people know how dangerous asbestos is but many think it’s a thing of the past, it’s not, it’s still there. It can be found in walls, ceilings, even floor tiles and guttering – basically in any type of building built before the year 2000.”
“Making sure you’re aware of where it can be found and how to deal with it safely, even on basic jobs like drilling holes or sanding really could mean the difference between life and death.”
“It can be so easy to breathe in the deadly dust and it may be years until you realise you’ve been affected. Every tradesperson that falls victim to asbestos related disease like mesothelioma and asbestosis is one too many, especially if it’s a result of ignorance. “
As part of his campaign, Pearce recommended that tradesmen consult the HSE web app and website for more details on how to locate asbestos materials before engaging in work and ended with a rallying call:-
“Let’s make asbestos deaths a thing of the past.”
To obtain the free web app, please visit www.beware-asbestos.info/news
Employers in England and Wales should have been aware that exposure to very low levels of asbestos could cause the asbestos cancer mesothelioma after October of 1965. Such employers should also have taken steps to reduce their employees’ exposure to asbestos prior to this date under Factories Act legislation dating back to 1937. If it is shown that employers did not protect their workers from exposure, an asbestos claim can be brought in negligence, arguing a breach of the legislation, with a view to recovering compensation.